The Erratics

Knopf. Aug. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9780525658610. $25.95. MEMOIR
In this memoir, translator and editor Laveau-Harvie seamlessly interweaves past and present, speculation and reality, that is as bitter as the Canadian wilderness that she comes home to when she and her sister have to confront their manipulative mother, hospitalized after breaking a hip, and their father, a starving victim of the mother’s abuse. Unflinching in its portrayal of family dynamics, yet by turns satiric, humorous, and loving, this brilliant examination of mental illness explores the effects on families and the complex ways in which people lose themselves in one another’s versions of reality until they discover ways of communicating and connecting that sever some of the bonds of childhood while also renegotiating relationships. Laveau-Harvie is a gifted writer, and she tells how she and her sister both experience the complicated process of caregiving from a distance. In between, she shares recollections of her childhood, and of traveling between her native Canada and adopted home of Australia. Through it all, Laveau-Harvie writes with care and tenderness.
VERDICT Similar to Maya Shanbhag Lang’s What We Carry, this account is a touching portrayal of grief, family, and what is best left unspoken.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing