Chloe Cartwright is an eccentric yet brilliant prize-winning writer, who has always been more focused on political causes than cooking a wholesome meal for her family.
Her daughter, Hannah, has never been much good at anything – other than shoplifting, that is. Hannah lacks direction and scrambles through life, before falling, almost by chance, into a successful career as partner to one of Cape Town’s leading chefs.
Life is looking good – until Chloe’s behaviour becomes even more irrational than usual …
Is Hannah imagining it? Or is something terribly wrong?
Both delightfully readable and powerfully moving, Below Luck Level is the story of a daughter’s relationship with her mother and the unexpected challenges of caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s.
Below Luck Level is brilliantly written with emotional depth and will help bring a deeper awareness and understanding of Alzheimer’s and dementia to its readers.
Karen Borochowitz, Executive Director, DEMENTIA SA
Below Luck Level is an exceptional book! Beautifully written and crafted telling a sad story with delightful charm and wit.
Professor Sean Davison (Professor Sean Davison is Head of the Forensic DNA at UWC. He revealed that, at the request of his mother, a medical doctor, he gave her crushed morphine tablets in a glass of water. He was arrested and went on trial for attempted murder which ignited debate on voluntary euthanasia.)
You would think that a book about Alzheimer’s would be all doom and gloom but Below Luck Level is not and it’s hard to believe that it is fiction, so real are the characters. Erasmus has a light, engaging style and she tells the story in a way that will have you laughing and crying, sometimes at the same time. Erasmus, who writes with empathy has described how Alzheimer’s affects everybody, not only the victim of the disease. Highly recommended.
Brian Joss, Cape Community Newspapers, Cape Town
When it comes to relentlessly grim subject matter not much can top Alzheimer’s and I have to admit that when Below Luck Level landed on my desk I approached it with trepidation – but by the time I’d finished the first chapter I was totally hooked and ended up devouring the book in just a few sittings.
Harrowing and intensely sad, but Erasmus structures her novel so cleverly and has such a lively, witty style that you never feel bogged down by its central Alzheimer’s feel. This is one of those rare books that will make you laugh and cry. Highly recommended.
Jane Vorster, YOU Magazine
It’s curious how the gravity of serious subjects can best be expressed through humour. Comedy humanises: the light touch gives weight. Erasmus has used it to great effect in this tragic story of a family’s battle to come to terms with early-onset, and ultimately fatal, Alzheimer’s. She has achieved something remarkable.
Aly Verbaan, Cape Times
There are passages in this book which will move you to tears but there are also many that will provoke laughter. And Erasmus’s elegant and skilled writing hooks you in from page one – there is a cracking good opening line. The pace is beautifully controlled; there is no wallowing in horrors, though horrors are present. Barbara Erasmus has achieved something remarkable here.
Margaret Van Klemperer, The Witness, Pietermaritzburg
Erasmus is a wonderful South African writer. Before I knew it, I was deeply immersed in the story, recognising local references but engrossed by the storyline. It’s a fascinating look at the changes in the mother-daughter relationship, the possibility of assisted suicide when facing the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s and life in the restaurant industry.
Leigh Andrews, Target Media
‘Edutainment’ is probably the best way to explain the enjoyment Below Luck Level gives. The enchantment of Below Luck Level is blended with the growing awareness of the disease that the author’s mother is dying from.
This book gives eye-opening exposure to the disease, of which the writer has made a detailed study, incorporating her research findings in a moving story.
Yet the ease and the fun-loving way of telling her tale makes Erasmus’s novel a special treat.
Dries Brunt, The Citizen
Barbara Erasmus’s novel is a page turner – an intriguing mix of tribulation and wit.
Lewis Watling, One Universe Publications, Cape Town
I loved this book and read it in one sitting. A haunting, funny exploration of Alzheimer’s disease. Erasmus always surprises and delights.
William Saunderson Meyer. Sunday Times