From the very first sentence of this Prix Goncourt-winning psychological thriller, we know that this is no Mary Poppins tale. Neither is it a conventional thriller, as it delves deep into the prickly issues of class and gender that emerge when a busy, successful working Parisian couple hire a stranger to look after their children. When doll-like, self-assured, imperturbable Louise shows up for an interview, it is love at first sight for everyone. Myriam and Paul hire her, and thus begins a twisted relationship of dependence, resentment, jealousy, and obsession.
In this luminous, late-bloomer’s coming-of-age story, an American woman in crisis flees to Italy to sort out her life. In Florence, she finds work in a library, falls in with a crowd of locals, and avoids eating. A moving meditation on art, beauty, and the female struggle to own her life by any means necessary, the novel is also a lovely guide to the sights and churches of Tuscany, a primer on female Italian saints, and an initiation into the art of rowing.
Following in the long tradition of writers like Tolstoy, Steinbeck, VC Andrews, Janet Peery uses the dysfunctional family to gain insight into a society and its culture, presenting an honest portrait of a complicated family grappling with a long history of addiction, bad behavior and tragedy. Though the Campbell family is roiled by drug abuse and sibling rivalries, they are not evil-hearted, and they band together when it counts. As America grapples with a growing opioid crisis, The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs offers a candid and compassionate portrait of a family challenged by drug abuse whose members feud, scheme, argue, and resent, but who always love and forgive.