Russell Wangersky



Reviews of Burning Down the House

"Nobody is supposed to remember things this well, the fires and accident scenes and injuries and deaths they've seen over the course of their years as a volunteer firefighter. But of course - and this is the first secret that Wangersky reveals - they do. At least Wangersky does, in searing, clear, torturous detail." Melora Koepke's review, "Hot Damn," at
"An astonishingly insightful and harrowing depiction of modern-day fire-fighting - in which fighting actual fires isn't the half of it." Excerpted from the Finalists section, British Columbia's National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.
"The book is a record of what he saw and heard, smelled, felt and thought while responding to emergency calls... Out of that apparently shattering experience has come this astonishingly visceral piece of writing." Lawrence Scanlan, The Globe and Mail review

Reviews of The Hour of Bad Decisions

“The Hour of Bad Decisions by Russell Wangersky (Coteau Books) is a collection of beautifully crafted stories, clean and metaphorically rich. Portraits in time, they gesture toward the stubborn and inescapable bravado of error and mistake, and yet are heartbreaking for their helpless inevitability.”   Read The Commonwealth Writers Prize releases shortlist

“The stories portray just about every emotion: terrible loss and profound love, loneliness, rage and disappointment, woven with thoughts so intimate and well considered that one almost feels embarrassed reading them. ... These are mature, deeply satisfying stories...” Read The Globe and Mail Book Review

“... the most impressive piece of Canadian fiction I've read all year.” Read the Women’s Post review

“Wangersky's short fiction debut, The Hour of Bad Decisions, is a poignant study of these stomach-churning U-turns. As divorce has become a standard mid-life rite of passage, many will no doubt identify with this collection. Wangersky has distilled the essence of separation and loss with compassion, grit and eloquence.” Read the Toronto Star review

“The Hour of Bad Decisions ... is superb. The writing is accomplished, even haunting.” Read The Telegram review

Raging fires, screaming women and knife-wielding men are among the lingering impages found in the debut short fiction collection ... Read the Winnipeg Free Press review

“Wangersky is masterful in his descriptions. He takes everyday situations and describes them in a vividly fresh way. He gives the reader latitude to form conclusions while celebrating the human spirit.” Read the Saskatchewan Publishers program comments

“It's a breathtaking collection that may seem all too familiar. It shouldn't be missed” Read the Edmonton Journal review

“A wounding ferocity smolders in journalist Russell Wangersky’s stories. ... The hour of bad decisions, it becomes clear, is 2 a.m., and these gorgeous stories honor its fraughtness.” The American Online

Selected as a top book of 2006 by The Globe 100

While the 17 stories in The Hour of Bad Decisions provide a literary tour of the Atlantic Coast, Wangersky is at his best when describing smaller landscapes, which work to connect the reader with the vast interior landscapes of the characters and their relationships with others. These are mature, deeply satisfying stories: despite all manner of intriguing avoidance techniques, the characters never try to escape responsibility for their bad decisions.  ~Sarah Dearing, The Globe and Mail

“...go buy his book, THE HOUR OF BAD DECISIONS, because it rocks...” Author Craig Davidson’s blog