The Erratics by Vicki Laveau-Harvie

One of the things I’ve learnt in counselling is to pay attention to my judgements, to examine very closely what’s behind my assessment of another person. In particular, what does a ‘judgement’ say about me (as opposed to my client)? To be clear, 95% of my time counselling is free of judgement – I listen, I try to understand and that’s it. But 5% of the time, someone will say something that triggers an immediate personal reaction, and it’s in that 5% where counsellors do their own work. Vicki Laveau-Harvie’s memoir, The Erratics, was a whole book of 5% for me.

Laveau-Harvie is Canadian-born and raised but has lived much of her life in Australia (hence this book being longlisted for the Stella Prize). The Erratics captures a short time in her life when, along with her Canadian-based sister, they moved their elderly mother into permanent care, and made arrangements for their father to stay in the relatively remote prairie home he loved. This sounds straight-forward, however, the blurb hints at something more dramatic – the mother is mentally unstable, hostile and delusional, and has systematically starved her father and kept him a hostage in his own home.

One of the few coherent messages my mother repeated to me and to my sister as we grew up, a message she sometimes delivered with deceptive gentleness and a touch of sadness that we weren’t more worthy prey, was this one, and I quote: I’ll get you and you won’t even know I’m doing it. Continue reading

The Stella Prize 2019 – longlist predictions

The Stella Prize 2019 longlist will be announced tonight.

The longlist is made up of twelve books, usually a mix of fiction and non-fiction, memoirs and short stories (all must have been published in 2018). Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

01. Hello Europe (and Australia)! It’s Eurovision time. I was up at the crack-of for the first semi this morning. Lots of thoughts but my picks from round one (in order) –

  • Albania – for it’s 90s vibe
  • Ireland – hear the crowd roar at a certain bit
  • Finland – a good song and a lucky-ticket wheel!
  • Czech Republic – Fresh Prince meets 80s-Sportsgirl-prep
  • Bulgaria – can’t argue with the lyrics… Also, doesn’t this have a pleasing Goldfrapp feel?

Thought Switzerland would have made it through for their stand-up/ stand-on drumming work alone. I know everyone is loving Cyprus but really, Eurovision is not for Beyoncé-wannabees. And if we are voting on pure Eurovision-ness alone, Israel is the winner. Continue reading

The Stella Prize 2017 Longlist

stella-prize-longlist-2017

I’ve been glued to Twitter all evening, busting to hear the Stella Prize 2017 longlist announcement. It’s here, so now I can relax (and start reading and predicting) – Continue reading