The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie


Hardcover. Condition: New, Dust Jacket: New. 2020. 1st Edition. Alfred. A. Knopf.

When her elderly mother is hospitalized unexpectedly, Vicki Laveau-Harvie and her sister travel to their parents’ ranch home in Alberta, Canada, to help their father. Estranged from their parents for many years, they are horrified by what they discover on their arrival. For years their mother has camouflaged her manic delusions and savage unpredictability, and over the decades she has managed to shut herself and her husband away from the outside world, systematically starving him and making him a virtual prisoner in his own home.

Rearranging their lives to be the daughters they were never allowed to be, the sisters focus their efforts on helping their father cope with the unending manipulations of their mother and encounter all the pressures that come with caring for elderly parents. And at every step they have to contend with their mother, whose favorite phrase during their childhood was: “I’ll get you and you won’t even know I’m doing it.”

Set against the natural world of the Canadian foothills (“in winter the cold will kill you, nothing personal”), this memoir—at once dark and hopeful—shatters precedents about grief, anger, and family trauma with surprising tenderness and humor.