In geology an erratic is a "boulder or rock formation transported some distance from its original source, as by a glacier." In award-winning novelist Mark Frutkin's case, his movement from his native Cleveland. Ohio, was instigated by his wish to protest and resist the U.S. military draft during the Vietnam War, and his destination was Canada.
An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 American Vietnam War draft resisters sought sanctuary in Canada. Many of these men stayed, became Canadian citizens, and have made significant contributions to the country, including writers such as William Gibson, George Fetherling, Keith Maillard, and Jay Scott; musicians Jesse Winchester and Jim Byrnes; children's performer Eric Nagler; and radio personality Andy Barrie.
Although this first nonfiction work by Mark Frutkin looks back at the circumstances and culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s that prompted the author to relocate to Canada, Erratic North is about many other things. It's also a lyrical meditation about "returning to nature" in the bush country of Quebec and an account of the crucible that forged one writer. Tying everything together, though, is the overarching theme of the book: A contemplation of humanity's embrace of war and violence and the countervailing impulse to resist that embrace, specifically as seen in the experience of Frutkin himself; his grandfather Simon, who escaped Tsarist Russia and its military in the 1890s; and Louis Drouin, the Quebec farmer Frutkin bought his original farm from and who resisted conscription in World War II.
What members say
- Dr Z of Ely near Cambridge, England
Spellbinding writing from a master with a light touch
I picked this book at random from a search of Canadian history and was mesmerised. The poet shines through without question and I loved the way he shifted time and place always keeping you engaged. Outstanding.