The Erratics

By Vicki Laveau-Harvie Fourth Estate


Vicki Laveau-Harvie

Judges' report


A gripping memoir, Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s The Erratics mines the psychological damage wrought on a nuclear family by a monstrous personality, set against the bitter cold of a Canadian winter. Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s narrative voice is detached, slightly numb and darkly humorous. She has long abandoned the lonely, shuttered house on the Alberta prairie for the untrammelled emotional freedom of faraway Australia.

Laveau-Harvie’s understated dialogue is naturalistic, conveying the deep alienation that can exist in a fractured immediate family. Somehow, despite the dark subject matter, this book has a smile at its core, and Laveau-Harvie shows constant wit when depicting some harrowing times. The narrative is brimming with honesty, the narrator somehow manages to see all viewpoints, and we are rewarded with an evocative and expansive view of a family that has more than its fair share of dysfunction. The writing throughout is of a consistently high standard and the judges were constantly delighted by this surprise of a book.