Whirl Away

Russell Wangersky

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Whirl Away

Whirl Away Short story collection examines when coping skills slip denial pragmatism or delusion A caretaker of a prairie amusement park the lone occupant of a collapsing Newfoundland town a travelling sport

  • Title: Whirl Away
  • Author: Russell Wangersky
  • ISBN: 9780887629365
  • Page: 211
  • Format: Paperback
  • Short story collection examines when coping skills slip denial, pragmatism, or delusion A caretaker of a prairie amusement park, the lone occupant of a collapsing Newfoundland town, a travelling sports drink marketer with a pressing need to get off the road, an elevator inspector who finds himself losing his marriage amid sensuous food gourmandizing all spin out of coShort story collection examines when coping skills slip denial, pragmatism, or delusion A caretaker of a prairie amusement park, the lone occupant of a collapsing Newfoundland town, a travelling sports drink marketer with a pressing need to get off the road, an elevator inspector who finds himself losing his marriage amid sensuous food gourmandizing all spin out of control into new worlds In the first, Bolt , a truck skids off the road into a bright pink field of fireweed Suddenly a rusty bolt John had found in the driveway, a bolt that he d tossed in the back of the pickup with the duffle bags and the mitre saw flies up front His skull cracks at the midline and just below the hair, hitting that smooth dent where a lover might rest a hand.

    • ✓ Whirl Away || ☆ PDF Read by ↠ Russell Wangersky
      211 Russell Wangersky
    • thumbnail Title: ✓ Whirl Away || ☆ PDF Read by ↠ Russell Wangersky
      Posted by:Russell Wangersky
      Published :2018-06-15T20:28:33+00:00

    One thought on “Whirl Away

    1. Cheryl on said:

      Usually the title of a short story collection is taken from the title of one of the stories it contains.Not this one. None of the stories are called “Whirl Away”.But they do all represent people whirling away in some form or another. They lose control, and can only follow the rule of centripetal force. The violent directions are inevitable and the forces difficult to overcome.The most outstanding and unsettling story, “Echo”, is about a 5 year old boy, alone in the back yard, observing a [...]

    2. Mary on said:

      "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 was a way of saying that he wouldn't answer, that the conversation was done.The twelve stories in Whirl Away are about people whose lives are quietly spinning out of control. This is straight-forward and precise writing grounded in realism. Nothing strange or ambiguous here, just clear-eyed visions of [...]

    3. Rebecca McNutt on said:

      I loved all the short stories in Whirl Away; some are better than others, a few are distinctly Canadian but their themes are universal and are important no matter where you live.

    4. Daniel on said:

      I'm not usually a big fan of collected short stories. My reading preferences are solidly weighted toward the novel format. The short story is, to me, more like a musical study: a showcase for one particular technique or sound. Yes, it might be terribly impressive in it's own right, but I'll take a symphony with its themes and motifs over any hundred of teasingly brilliant studies.Every now and then, however, there is a collection of short stories that captures my attention. Whirl Away is such a [...]

    5. Steven Langdon on said:

      The 2012 Giller Prize nominees for best Canadian fiction are an impressive lot this year. I am not usually carried away by a collection of short stories, but "Whirl Away" is exceptional, and a strong part of the Giller quintet. There is a universalistic and cosmopolitan feel to this year's Giller list -- with globe-straddling settings in all four of the novels, and themes that focus on such basic human questions as the relationships between children and their parents. From this perspective, Wang [...]

    6. Magdelanye on said:

      Lured by glowing reviews well written by people I admire, in addition to the accolades of the GR world, I hunted down and then coddled this book for the right moment, sure I was in for a treat and ready to be whirled away. I had recently read and quite liked RWs novelThe Glass Harmonica and indeed, I recognized his style: compact, precise, vigilant to an inner logic that unfolds to sustain the shaky structures inhabited by his shaky characters. I sincerely hope that RW is not writing from experi [...]

    7. Julie on said:

      I loved this collection of short stories, which were incredibly well written. I also found that the characterization and plot were incredibly well developed. All of the characters were fleshed out, many deeply flawed characters, who captured me from the start. The plot was no different. Some of the stories seemed to be ones you've heard before. Stories of divorce, the mistress, troubled children and elderly ladies, but something about the writing, the execution and the final twists, made the sto [...]

    8. Tina on said:

      I would have liked this collection a lot more if the tone had varied away from depressing at some point. While the stories were generally perfect length and well-executed, they were so damn bleak. Every single story just drained you with its pathetic or run-down characters. There was one exception – the last story I liked quite a bit because though the story overall was rather sad, the ending featured reconciliation instead of just more isolation. Granted, I Like a good sad story once and awhi [...]

    9. Robert Stewart on said:

      Too many of these stories read like first-year creative writing exercises (i.e. Write a story where a young boy uses language to cope with the doestic violence in his home; Write a story where an old woman dominates a conversation with an authority figure; Write a story where someone is served with legal papers). These can all be decent premises if handled correctly; if the writer gives them a unique spin, or some unexpected structure. But I've read all these stories before. Done better by short [...]

    10. Buried In Print on said:

      This review was deleted following 's purchase of GoodReads. The review can still be viewed via LibraryThing, where my profile can be found here.I'm also in the process of building a database at Booklikes, where I can be found here.If you read/liked/clicked through to see this review here on GR, many thanks.

    11. Christine on said:

      I sat down to read a few of these and found them utterly absorbing, still and easy on the surface, but plumbing great depths of disconnection and misunderstanding.There are stories of domestic violence, sexual assault, and relationship disintegration of various kinds, but the common thread throughout is a close examination of those small moments that cause relationships and lives to begin to unravel.

    12. Margarita on said:

      Although the prose is clean and the writing reasonably insightful, Wangersky's themes are common and his approach bland. Surprisingly, for a seasoned writer, these stories seem more at the level of a promising first year creative writing student. All of the writing elements (story, characters, themes) are solid, but certainly not unique. His strongest story of the lot is perhaps, 911.

    13. Alison Cummings on said:

      I enjoyed this collection of short stories. Reminds me of the style of Alice Munro. Lot of bittersweet tales that exemplify the human condition. There were stories I preferred over others. But overall, this was a nice read, and I did feel I entered the lives of the characters.**Spoiler altert:** I would have preferred a more ironic ending to Sharp Corner. Maybe that would have been too predictable and uncharacteristic of Wangersky's style, but my thought would be to have his wife die in a crash [...]

    14. Malarie on said:

      I chose to read this book because when I was shelving books at work I came across it and no one had taken it out since 2013. Seeming brand new book I decided to give it a chance and potentially save a book from being weeded. Well it was an AMAZING book!! Clever short stories that happen all over Canada but they have a twist and a dark side to them!! (Not too dark but broken characters who find out what it’s like to have their coping skills taken away).

    15. Marissa on said:

      Wangersky seems convinced of the misery of human existence. Short stories are for examining the human condition, but the conclusion Wangersky comes to regarding the human condition doesn't quite reflect reality in my opinion. Of course his stories outline dark circumstances that happen in real life, but these stories seem to despair and hint at a kind of meaninglessness that doesn't ring true.

    16. Nick on said:

      I haven't thought much of this book after reading the first couple of short stories then gradually warmed up to its short stories (I started to discover shades and hues, lives alike and yet so far apart). It would be boring if we were all the same. 2.5 *s and a decent quick read.

    17. Daniel Kukwa on said:

      A mixed bag of a collection, where the strongest & most engaging stories reside in the first one hundred pages; it feels a bit more scatter-shot after that. "Bolt" is the first and best story of the collection, but honourable mention goes to the darkly humorous "Sharp Corner".

    18. Michael Bryson on said:

      Mark Anthony Jarman has a review of Russell Wangersky's short story collection, Whirl Away (Thomas Allen, 2012), in the Globe & Mail (March 17, 2012).It's a fine review and an excellent summary of the book, which I have just finished reading."Like Cheever or Munro, Russell Wangersky delves stealthily into disquieting corners of the domestic sphere, his stories dissecting lives when they are fracturing, lives at stress points, lives much like the roller coaster at the centre of McNally's Fair [...]

    19. Lynne on said:

      "The bolt came through the open back window of the truck. It came in end over end. From a distance, if anyone had been watching it, concentrating, it might actually have appeared that the truck was doing the tumbling, and that the bolt was flying perfectly straight." (p. 1)If you're like me, and by that I mean someone who has to commute a lot on a daily basis then you may understand the appeal of short stories. The length and the fact that each story can be read on its own means that you'll be a [...]

    20. Ian on said:

      The characters who populate the stories in Russell Wangersky's collection Whirl Away are risk takers who frequently face down life-threatening situations and even death—or else embark on risky behaviour that leads them to the brink of what is morally or socially acceptable. Because of this, most of these grim, spare stories have some degree of narrative urgency about them that propels the reader through. Wangersky's most trusted strategy is to drop the reader into a situation that is well on i [...]

    21. Audrey on said:

      ***I received the book for free through First Reads/GiveawayWhat caught my attention with this book was the first paragraph of the synopsis:"The stories in this dazzling new collection look at what happens when people's personal coping skills go awry. These are the 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 greatness weakness."I was expecting sto [...]

    22. Ruth Seeley on said:

      Wangersky's an interesting writer whose work has a huge body count - someone ends up dead in the vast majority of the stories in this collection. There's more than a hint of Russell Banks in his writing, I think (at least in his characterizations - alienation is us). The Flannery O'Connor comparison hadn't occurred to me, but I like this review of the collection:artstionalpost/2012/04/There's a hard and unpitying edge to his characterizations that makes me a little uneasy though. Looking forward [...]

    23. Shirley Schwartz on said:

      Not My Favourite-I normally don't read short stories (unless it's Alice Monroe) but this book was a finalist in the 2012 Giller Prize, so I decided to read it. The stories are certainly different, and I'm not sure I really understood them. I certainly didn't identify with any of the characters. I usually try to pick a favourite story out of a book of short stories, but that was little difficult with this book. I guess if I have to pick one, it would be "Look Away" which is a story about a lighth [...]

    24. Scotchneat on said:

      This one was short-listed for the Giller.The stories focus on people at the point of centrifugal change - thus the whirling away.Wangersky brings together rather small lives with big moments, usually against a backdrop of large or encroaching landscape (how very Canadian).Also very Canadian - lots of death in or near the characters. My favourites from this collection include a story about a small boy sent out to the porch while his parents argue in the house, and an ambulance driver forced on le [...]

    25. Debbie on said:

      (Fiction, Short Stories, Atlantic Canadian) From : “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.”Whirl Away was the winner [...]

    26. Alexandra on said:

      Although I feel Whirl Away was a weaker contender compared to the other Giller nominees, this book was overall a pleasure to read for its short, but poignant, stories. I definitely had favourite (and not-so-favourite) parts of this book, but this is inevitable when the characters are situated in different times and spaces. It's easy to forget that every part is written by the same author because each story has a different 'voice', but the level of description seems fairly constant throughout. Wa [...]

    27. Benjamin Kahn on said:

      This book was a bit of a disappointment. The cover looked fun, the author was Canadian, so I was looking forward to reading it, but the stories themselves were pretty blah. Most fell into one of two categories: “that’s it?” or “I don’t care”. The only exceptions were “911” which was decent with a weak ending, “Look Away” which I found strangely interesting, and “I Like” which I didn’t mind, although I couldn’t tell you why. It didn’t seem that different from the maj [...]

    28. Shonna Froebel on said:

      This collection of stories offer a variety of individuals, all of whom have something going wrong in their life. We see their struggle, their way of coping, their inner worries. They each have something in their life that failed them in some way, whether it is job loss, loss of a partner, or simply loneliness.They are reaching out for something, someone to pay attention to them, someone who will accept them, someone to love them. They are damaged, broken, yet he makes them sympathetic, relatable [...]

    29. Sarah Manuel on said:

      I'd give 3.5 stars if I could. The stories were well written and the characters three dimensional, they felt real. My low rating is more about me than the book itself. I find short stories difficult to enjoy. It's as if the authors can only write about the sad, simple, jaded parts of everyday life in order to illicit the feeling of connectedness from readers. I choose to believe that life is not that mundane, that the blah is not inevitable. And for that reason, I'd rather read something else. S [...]

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