Russell Wangersky’s ‘Whirl Away’ is a short story collection centred on chaos and how people react when life spirals out from under them. Comprised of twelve traumatic, unrelenting, and often witty stories, ‘Whirl Away’ refuses reservation.
In life, all of us lose control somewhere along the way. Sometimes it’s with work, or families, or relationships that have yet to begin. In ‘Whirl Away’, the protagonists are various and never repetitive; each story is as refreshing as the one before. Some stories are written in a short, staccato, and static style. Other stories are full, abundantly descriptive and reflective.
Within Wangersky’s collection, an impressionable five year old boy explores his backyard, bringing his parents’ hostility with him. An on-the-road salesman discovers the dangers of where his work can take him, and a spiteful ambulance driver has been suspended, but out of the necessity to save lives, he strives to preserve his job. These are just a few of the stories that Wangersky uses to voice a universal theme.
Voice is something Wangersky excels at above all else. His use of tone, pitch and speed is pliable and matches the personality of the central character, which creates a smooth transition for the reader.
Russell Wangersky never holds back; his characters are often disturbing, cruel and oblivious to their destructive tendencies. He reminds us that sometimes our chaos is our own doing.
In ‘Whirl Away,’ we’re gifted with a description of East Coast Canada that is rich and full of character. The very speech and humour is detailed and revealing.
At times, his lengthy reflective descriptions can seem cumbersome and pointless for a short story collection. However, as a whole, ‘Whirl Away’ is an extensive collection; unrestricted and designed for everyone to sympathize and appreciate.
Russell Wangersky is based in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, and has written three books prior to 'Whirl Away': 'The Glass Harmonica' was published in 2010, 'Burning Down the House' in 2008, and 'The Hour of Bad Decisions' in 2006. 'The Hour of Bad Decisions' was on the 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlist. He currently works for the daily newspaper, The Telegram, in St. John's.
Russell Wangersky's 'Whirl Away' is nominated for the 2012 Scotiabank Giller Prize, along with Nancy Richler's 'The Imposter Bride,'Alix Ohlin's 'Inside,'Will Ferguson's '419,' and Kim Thuy's 'Ru'. The winner of Canada's prestigious literary prize will be announced tomorrow, Tuesday, October 30, 2012 at 9 p.m. EST. Digital Journal will be reviewing all of the nominated books before the winner is announced.