Russell Wangersky's most recent book,The Glass Harmonica, won the 2010 BMO Winterset Award and was longlisted for the Relit Awards. His previous book, Burning Down the House: Fighting Fires and Losing Myself won Canada's largest non-fiction prize, the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction. Wangersky lives and works in St. John's, where he is an editor and columnist with the St. John's Telegram.
The Glass Harmonica
2010 BMO Winterset Award — Winner
When retiree Keith O’Reilly witnesses the murder of his neighbour by a pizza delivery man one night during a snowstorm, a unique series of stories begins to unfold.
As the narrative seamlessly moves from neighbour to neighbour, house to house, the reader begins to understand, not only the circumstances that led to the murder, but the private secrets and personal struggles of many of the McKay Street residents.
Travelling through the changing viewpoints of a more than a dozen of people in a small residential neighbourhood in St. John’s, Newfoundland, The Glass Harmonica looks at the way common memories and shared experiences bend and warp as individuals recall the events of their lives, and how these distortions influence both the character’s and the reader’s understanding of the truth.
[A] compelling first novel.
Wangersky is a terrific writer. His prose is crisp and lyrical, and the book is full of acute observations of all that surrounds us...
Wangersky is a craftsman and a storyteller. The Glass Harmonica is certainly worth your time and concentration.
I find it hard to say enough good things about this novel...There's a universe in each house, a mystery. Life is not so easy sometimes. Wangersky captures this mystery of life so well and let's the reader in on the stories within the brightly coloured outdoor walls.
What is impressive ... is Wangersky's decision not to sentimentalize these people or the way they live. McKay Street is frankly depicted as a hostile, dangerous place characterized by lousy weather, economic hardship, and random violence.