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Whirl Away

In this collection of short stories, Russell Wangersky explores what happens when people's coping skills fail.

Russell Wangersky

Everyone has something they're good at: one particular personal skill that they use to keep their lives moving forward when their worlds suddenly become difficult or near-impossible. For some, it's denial; for others, blunt pragmatism. Still others depend on an over-inflated view of self to keep criticism and doubt at bay.

In his new short story collection, Whirl Away, Russell Wangersky — author of critically-acclaimed fiction and non-fiction including The Glass Harmonica, Burning Down the House: Fighting Fires and Losing Myself and The Hour of Bad Decisions — looks at what happens when people's personal coping skills go awry. These are people who discover their anchor-chain has broken: characters safe in the world of self-deception or even self-delusion, forced to face the fact that their main line of defense has become their greatest weakness.

From the caretaker of a prairie amusement park to the lone occupant of a collapsing Newfoundland town, from a travelling sports drink marketer with a pressing need to get off the road to an elevator inspector who finds himself losing his marriage while sensuously burying himself in the tastes and smells of the kitchen, these are people who spin wildly out of control, finding themselves in a new and different world. (From Dundurn)

From the book

"No, really," she'd ask him. "How'd you even get in the same room with each other, let alone end up married?" And John would do what he always did, pushing his hands through the hair at his temples...it was a way of saying that he wouldn't answer, that the conversation was done.


From Whirl Away by Russell Wangersky ©2012. Published by Thomas Allen Publishers .

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