A humorous and vivid collection of stories about the struggle for human connection by two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize nominee Russell Wangersky.
As entertaining as they are insightful, the stories in The Path of Most Resistance are anchored by the concept of passive aggression in our everyday lives: ordinary people who are quietly, desperately, and indirectly trying to impose their will on the uncaring world around them. From a woman who compulsively shops for luggage in order to sublimate her desire for a divorce to a senior citizen who tries to force his family to visit by refusing to eat, the characters in this collection try to change their lives through oblique resistance.
The Path of Most Resistance is an observant and compassionate look at the feelings of powerlessness that we all share, and will have readers silently cringing and nodding in recognition of their own bad behaviour.
About the author
Russell Wangerskyâ€™s most recent book, The Glass Harmonica, won the 2010 BMOWinterset Award and was longlisted for the Relit Awards. His previous book, Burning Down the House: Fighting Fires and Losing Myself won Canadaâ€™s largest non-fiction prize, the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the Rogers Communications Newfoundland and Labrador Non-Fiction Book Award and the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. It was also a finalist for theWriterâ€™s Trust Non- Fiction Prize and was a Globe and Mail Top 100 selection in 2008. His 2006 short story collection The Hour of Bad Decisions was long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and was shortlisted for the CommonwealthWriterâ€™s Prize, first book, Canada and the Caribbean. It was a Globe and Mail Top100 selection in 2006.Wangersky lives and works in St. Johnâ€™s, where he is an editor and columnist with the St. Johnâ€™s Telegram.
Wangersky is adept at creating crystalline moments in which events or lives change or reorganize themselves; rarely does he offer closure or pat solutions to the situations he imagines.
The Globe and Mail
Microcosm and macrocosm are laid bare in this collection of 12 rigorous stories by Wangersky (Walt), whose fiction has won an Independent Publisher Book Award and many other accolades…the [stories] endings hang suspended, almost magically, in the air and continue to do so in readers’ minds long after they have put the book down and gotten on with the minutiae of their own lives.
Wangersky eases languidly between action and imagination. Certain brief moments of memory and fantasy, a little like Richard Ford’s thoughtful, dreaming, disconnected men, suggest a different register of interest from the mostly unspectacular events the stories are about. Structurally, there’s great artistry in the way Wangersky is able to tell, somehow, two stories at the same time, the under-plot gradually easing the main plot out of sight. The stories are full of precise observations, small gifts of reality: the way damp in the air warns you of an approaching storm, a husband “sunk into his chair like a grounded ship.” It’s fine, detached, and subtle writing... At their peak, these stories have the strengths of the author’s finest work–the deeply unsettling spareness of Walt, the visceral insight of Burning Down the House.
Atlantic Books Today
Russell Wangersky affirms his position as one of the finest short-story writers currently working in this country . . . Wangersky has delivered a collection unified in its quality, but eclectic and surprising in the breadth of its styles, subjects, and techniques.
Quill and Quire
By tapping into the frustration that comes with being ignored or misunderstood, Wangersky is writing stories that speak to a very base emotion in all Canadians; we’re a more aggressive, competitive people than we like to think. But in The Path of Most Resistance, this is tempered by Wangersky’s humour and honest treatment of his characters – a group that readers will recognize in their friends and neighbours, people going about their lives, knowing that no matter the frustration, there’s nothing to do but keep on going.
The National Post