Enjoying only a very reduced number of siblings myself, I can't really claim to know what it's like to grow up in a family of nine, like Vigan's mother did. I do however have a mother, albeit suffering no obvious mental affliction, so I can identify with the hardship of writing about her as an independent person.
Not that that sort of imagination is really necessary, as Vigan takes regular breaks from her narrative to address the reader with reports on how her writing is progressing and how it is affecting her. Metaliterature just the way I like it!
Apart from that, this family saga set in postwar Paris was captivating, stomach-churning, well-pondered and eminently elegant in style. As masterly as it was enthralling!