The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie – Our Review
Winner Stella Prize 2019 and Finch Memoir Prize in 2018
“Scratch me and you get grief. It will well up surreptitiously and slip away down any declivity, perhaps undermining the foundations but keeping a low profile and trying not to inconvenience anybody.
Scratch my sister at your peril however, because you’ll get rage, a geyser of it, like hitting oil after drilling dry, hot rock for months and it suddenly, shockingly, plumes up into the sky, black and viscous, coating everything as it falls to earth.
Take care when you scratch.”
‘The Erratics’ has me completely in its thrall. A memoir, it’s one of those incredible stories that you just couldn’t possibly make up, with such a deliciously evil character as Laveau-Harvie’s mother.
The sisters have been “disowned and disinherited” for nearly 20 years from their Canadian parents, only coming home to care for their father – whom they discover has been deeply neglected, when their mother is admitted for an extended hospital stay. She is a woman with no moral compass. She successfully weaves a serpentine web of the most outrageous lies in order to manipulate all around her- her carers, the nurses in the hospital, her neighbours and even her husband are seduced with her considerable charisma and charm.
After grappling for all their childhood with their mother’s lies and deceit, they decide to wage their own war- attempting to get her committed in an institution and allow their father to age with dignity and grace.
I loved this memoir, for it’s beautiful prose and it’s humour amid the darkness. There is a grace to Laveau-Harvie writing also, she is not self-pitying, she writes with integrity and elegance. A worthy Stella prize winner and a magnificent read for lovers of great writing.
Review by Nicole @ Great Escape Books