The Path of Most Resistance

Russell Wangersky. House of Anansi (PGW/Perseus, U.S. dist.; UTP, Canadian dist.), $15.95 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4870-0068-4
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. Wangersky delves deep into life’s minutiae and emerges with snapshots of the cosmos, whether he’s reflecting on traffic and urban sprawl through the eyes of a traveling salesman in “Rage” or depicting the hyper competitive snow-blowing regime of two elderly neighbors in “Snow.” A gay woman’s letter to her now-straight ex details the particulars of a Mexican town in “The Path of Most Resistance,” a five-year-old explores a family campground alone at dawn in “Bide Awhile,” and a man slips in and out of memories of his wife’s departure while orchestrating the painstaking move of an 80-ton machinery module in “Heavy Load.” For all the specifics, Wangersky still leaves room for the unknown, and his endings happen almost mid-step. In a few of the stories, this makes for a strange sense of detachment and uncertainty as to the stakes at hand, but in the majority, the 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. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/19/2017
Release date: 05/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
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