Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s The Erratics is a fantastically crafted, unblinkingly honest, frequently darkly humorous lament for a loving family that in no way was. The author’s mother was a cruel and abusive narcissist, her father an enabler and Laveau-Harvie and her more youthful sister the casualties of their mother and father’ twisted way of inhabiting the world.
Their circle of relatives home is in Okotoks, a rural location in Alberta, Canada, where an enormous ancient boulder known as the Okotoks Erratic “dominates the landscape, roped off and isolated, the risk it affords to anyone palpable and documented on the signs published round it.” Laveau-Harvie describes Okotoks and the Rocky Mountains that leap above it with marvel and grace. She movingly conveys the ways in which the landscape offered her solace as a toddler and inspires resolve as an adult. But to live to tell the tale the trauma of her early years, she first needed to leave—shifting to France and subsequently settling in far flung Australia. “When I could, I took to fleeing ever farther, a shifting target operating at making herself fainter within the go hairs, while my sister stood her ground, stable in look and stern, modeling her life like play dough. Neither method changed into successful,” she writes.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Vicki Laveau-Harvie discusses the lengthy and winding course to publishing her stunning first book.
In 2006, Laveau-Harvie obtained a fateful phone call at her domestic in Sydney: Her elderly mother had damaged her hip and was inside the hospital, leaving her father alone in her mother and father’ grand mansion. He changed into also, the author learned, timorous and frail because of his wife ravenous and isolating him. After being estranged from their dad and mom for nearly 20 years, the sisters traveled to Okotoks in order to shield their father and procure the right care for their mother.
Their six-year journey of navigating limitless fitness care bureaucracy at the same time as revisiting familial ache makes for an engrossing and fascinating read, one that actions with the ebbs and flows of Laveau-Harvie’s supressed, impressionistic memories. She writes, “My past is not simply faded, or camouflaged below the dirt of years. It’s now not there, and I realize a blessing in disguise when I see one.” Through this protective, gauzy “fog” beams the writer’s light: an unflinching and empathetic memoir of the collision between past trauma and new outrage, dotted with valuable moments of rueful levity and fleeting beauty.