A daughter examines her complicated relationship with a charismatic, narcissistic mother who now lives with alcohol-related dementia.

When Cassie Wolfe brings her mother, Nina, to the Albuquerque Presbyterian Hospital to be detoxed, the doctors ask her to write a profile of the patient. But how can she fit Nina into a Word document? The last two years have left Cassie stunned, unable to reconcile the shell of a woman lying in the hospital bed with the force of nature that was her mother.

Cassie's memories of Nina span decades and landscapes, from a farmhouse in Massachusetts to the streets of New York and the mountains of New Mexico. Nina was a charismatic iconoclast—an architect and builder who could wield a circular saw as easily as discuss politics art. But as Cassie comes to realize, Nina's brilliant constructions were only possible when she walled off whole sides of herself. Hiding is not unique to Nina—Cassie knows AA is full of just such intelligent, hilarious, powerful women. And when her critical gaze turns to her own life and how she’s raising her two daughters, she sees her mother's influence everywhere. In the end, Nina's devastating descent threatens to pull the family under, and Cassie's constant action is propelled by grief until she realizes that all that remains is to let it go.

About the author(s)

SABRINA REEVES grew up in Boston and New York and currently lives in Montreal. Her artistic practice has primarily been in writing performance texts and plays. She founded the performance company Bluemouth Inc., with whom she’s written and staged over a dozen original works and performed all over the world. In 2018, she completed an MFA in creative writing at Concordia University, where she was awarded the Dean of Arts and Sciences Award for Excellence in Creative Writing.


By turns uplifting, profound, angry, [Reeves] is never disengaged, never boring … [She] paints images with her words, and her scenes just as frequently soar.