AustLit logo
image of person or book cover 193379274904261052.jpg
Image courtesy of publisher's website.
y separately published work icon The Erratics single work   autobiography  
Issue Details: First known date: 2018... 2018 The Erratics
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The family secrets are only just beginning to unravel... 

'When her elderly mother is hospitalised after an accident, Vicki is summoned to her parents' isolated and run-down ranch home in Alberta, Canada, to care for her father. She has been estranged from her parents for many years (the reasons for which become quickly clear) and is horrified by what she discovers on her arrival.

'For years her mother has suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness but carefully hidden her delusions and unpredictable behaviour behind a carefully guarded mask, and has successfully isolated herself and her husband from all their friends. But once in hospital her mask begins to crack and her actions leave everyone baffled and confused ... and eventually scared for their lives.

'Meanwhile Vicki's father, who has been systematically starved and harruanged for years, and kept virtually a prisoner in his own home, begins to realise what has happened to him and embarks upon plans of his own to combat his wife.

'The ensuing power play between the two takes a dramatic turn and leaves Vicki stuck in the middle of a bizzare and ludicrously strange family dilemma. All this makes for an intensely gripping, yet black-humoured family drama which will leave you on the edge of your seat.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Exhibitions

19046856
18667821

Notes

  • Writing Disability in Australia

    Type of disability Mental illness (specifics unconfirmed).
    Type of character Primary.
    Point of view Third person.

  • Dedication: For Laurence and Simon, and for Irene.

  • This book has been selected for Guardian Australia’s series The Unmissables, highlighting the most notable Australian books of the year.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Finch , 2018 .
      image of person or book cover 193379274904261052.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 256p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 21 May 2018.

      ISBN: 9780648100850, 0648100855
    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Fourth Estate , 2019 .
      image of person or book cover 7356990783305877317.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 224p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 20 March 2019.

      ISBN: 9781460758250, 1460758250
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Knopf ,
      2020 .
      image of person or book cover 366498475492019084.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 224p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 25th August 2020
      ISBN: 9780525658610 (hbk), 9780525658627 (ebk)

Other Formats

  • Also sound recording.
  • Dyslexic edition.
  • Large print.

Works about this Work

Sifting the Ruins in a Tempestuous Mother’s Wake Parul Sehgal , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: The New York Times , 12 August 2020; (p. 5)

— Review of The Erratics Vicki Laveau-Harvie , 2018 single work autobiography

'Ancient glaciers did not travel alone. They carried within them pebbles, rocks, even boulders, sometimes for hundreds of miles. These migrating stones, once deposited, are called “erratics” — they stick out among their new surroundings. When the Cordilleran ice sheet worked its way down the mountains of Alaska and across western Canada, it melted to reveal a trail of angular stones now known as the Foothills Erratics Train.' (Introduction)

A Vapor Trail Across the Sun : Making Order Out of Chaos Vicki Laveau-Harvie , 2020 single work autobiography
— Appears in: Griffith Review , April no. 68 2020; (p. 280-287)
The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie – A Memoir of Entirely Its Own Genre Jenny Valentish , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 13 May 2019;

'With agile humour and moments of tenderness, The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie evokes the Canadian winter and the trauma of living with a manipulative parent. The second in Guardian Australia’s literary highlights series for 2019.'(Introduction)

I Needed to Deal with My Destructive Demons before I Could Write about My Past Vicki Laveau-Harvie , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 14 May 2019;

'In her Stella prize-winning memoir, The Erratics, Vicki Laveau-Harvie deals with the trauma she experienced at the hands of a parent. Writing it, though, was anything but cathartic.' (Introduction)

Blood Calls to Blood Melissa Thorne , 2019 single work essay
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , July 2019;

'It is difficult to know where to begin with The Erratics. For the story begins many times, at different places and points. The book begins near the end of the story, although more follows, and what happened before is revealed fleetingly, in slow unravellings and chronological leaps. So let us begin here firstly with the context, why I am writing about this book and why you might have heard of it.' (Introduction)

Six Books that Shock, Delve Deeply and Destroy Pieties : Your Guide to the 2019 Stella Prize Shortlist Camilla Nelson , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: The Conversation , 8 April 2019;

— Review of Little Gods Jenny Ackland , 2018 single work novel ; The Bridge Enza Gandolfo , 2018 single work novel ; Pink Mountain on Locust Island Jamie Marina Lau , 2018 single work novel ; The Erratics Vicki Laveau-Harvie , 2018 single work autobiography ; Too Much Lip Melissa Lucashenko , 2018 single work novel ; Axiomatic Maria Tumarkin , 2018 single work prose
Sifting the Ruins in a Tempestuous Mother’s Wake Parul Sehgal , 2020 single work review
— Appears in: The New York Times , 12 August 2020; (p. 5)

— Review of The Erratics Vicki Laveau-Harvie , 2018 single work autobiography

'Ancient glaciers did not travel alone. They carried within them pebbles, rocks, even boulders, sometimes for hundreds of miles. These migrating stones, once deposited, are called “erratics” — they stick out among their new surroundings. When the Cordilleran ice sheet worked its way down the mountains of Alaska and across western Canada, it melted to reveal a trail of angular stones now known as the Foothills Erratics Train.' (Introduction)

'A Dream' : Out of Print Memoir Shortlisted for 2019 Stella Prize Stephanie Honor Convery , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 8 March 2019;

'Sydney writer Vicki Laveau-Harvie joins five others in the running for the $50,000 prize for Australian women’s writing.'

Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s Remarkable, Uncomfortable Memoir Wins the 2019 Stella Prize Camilla Nelson , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Conversation , 9 April 2019;

'Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s memoir of a “monstrous” mother has won the 2019 Stella Prize. The Erratics tells the story of Vicki’s return home to a prairie house in the sparse wintry landscapes of Alberta, Canada, where she grew up. Once there, the narrator faces family relationships that are strained to the point of breaking.'  (Introduction)

y separately published work icon The Stella Prize 2019 : Vicki Laveau-Harvie Astrid Edwards (interviewer), Melbourne : Bad Producer Productions , 2019 16375488 2019 single work single work interview podcast

'Vicki Laveau-Harvie was born in Canada, but lived for many years in France before settling in Australia. She worked as a translator and editor in France, and then lectured in French Studies at Macquarie University in Australia. After retiring, she taught ethics in a primary school.

Vicki's debut work, her memoir The Erratics, won the Finch Memoir Prize in 2018 and The Stella Prize in 2019.'

Source: Introduction.

Stella Prize Won by First-time Author Vicki Laveau-Harvie for Her Memoir of Family Dysfunction, The Erratics Patrick Carey , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: ABC News [Online] , April 2019;
Blood Calls to Blood Melissa Thorne , 2019 single work essay
— Appears in: Sydney Review of Books , July 2019;

'It is difficult to know where to begin with The Erratics. For the story begins many times, at different places and points. The book begins near the end of the story, although more follows, and what happened before is revealed fleetingly, in slow unravellings and chronological leaps. So let us begin here firstly with the context, why I am writing about this book and why you might have heard of it.' (Introduction)

Last amended 23 Sep 2020 11:52:17
X