Walt

Paperback | September 13, 2014

byRussell Wangersky

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From critically acclaimed author Russell Wangersky, comes a dark, psychological thriller about a man named Walt, a grocery store cleaner who collects the shopping lists people leave in the store and discard without thought. In his fifties, abandoned, he says, by his now-missing wife Mary, Walt is pursued by police detectives unsatisfied with the answers he's given about her disappearance.

Almost invisible to the people who pass him every day, the grocery lists he collects, written on everything from cancelled cheques to mortgage statements to office stationary, give him a personal hold over those who both ignore him and unwittingly disclose facets of their lives to him.

When a new cold case squad is formed in St. John's to look into Mary's disappearance, the detectives begin to realize that Walt may be involved in more than just his wife's disappearance.

Set in modern-day Newfoundland, after reading Walt, you'll be sure to never let your shopping list fall to the floor ever again.

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From the Publisher

From critically acclaimed author Russell Wangersky, comes a dark, psychological thriller about a man named Walt, a grocery store cleaner who collects the shopping lists people leave in the store and discard without thought. In his fifties, abandoned, he says, by his now-missing wife Mary, Walt is pursued by police detectives unsatisfie...

RUSSELL WANGERSKY is the author of five books. Most recently, his crime thriller Walt was named one of the top crime books of the year by the National Post. Wangersky has won, or been nominated, for numerous awards for his writing, including the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the B.C. National Award for Non-Fiction, the Edna Staebler Award f...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.8 inPublished:September 13, 2014Publisher:House Of Anansi Press IncLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1770894675

ISBN - 13:9781770894679

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A simple, yet deceptively deep psychological thriller that will remain in the reader’s memory. My most recent reading journey took me to Newfoundland – or to what we in Atlantic Canada affectionately call “The Rock”. Set in modern day St. John’s, Newfoundland’s capital city, the novel features a solitary, fifty-something grocery store janitor named “Walt“. Walt is one of the invisible members of society. Quietly and unobtrusively pushing his broom, cleaning up other people’s messes. Dressed in a uniform which people tend to ignore – until they need his cleaning services and then they don’t look him in the eye… He lives alone in a house on McKay Street in east end St. John’s. A house that he once shared with his wife Mary – though now she is gone… Theirs was a volatile and childless marriage. Mary left him? Moved back to her parents? Went out West? Died? – we don’t know. All we know is that she isn’t there anymore. Now Walt lives a solitary existence, moving from his house to the grocery store where he works and taking long walks around his home city. He loves to fish and deems fishing to be an almost religious experience. Walt has a very keen interest in human nature. He is a rapt observer of everyone who enters his store. In fact in everyone he encounters. This is in part due to his loneliness. He feels stifled by his insular life, but can not see his way to make the changes necessary to lift him from his routines. Told almost all from the point of view of Walt, with the odd short chapter told from the point of view of two members of the RNC (the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary), the novel describes Walt’s daily life and his obsession with the grocery lists that the customers from his store discard with abandon. He collects these lists. In fact he has bankers’ boxes full of them. Why? you might ask. Because they reveal SO much about the writers. Also, many are written on used envelopes, business stationery, etc. – so in addition to speculation about the writer from the content of the list, Walt often also culls more pertinent information about them… like their home addresses. Walt has made the study of others habits his doctoral thesis. He sees his lists as puzzle pieces of a puzzle only he can complete. His abundance of free time and his dogged determination to discover things about his ‘targets’, make him ideally situated to succeed in his mission. Is he a stalker? Yes most certainly. Is he guilty of more serious crimes? We don’t know… A week or so after Mary ‘left’, Walt reported her missing. Now, years later, two members of a ‘cold case’ squad of the RNC have taken up the task of tracing her whereabouts and closing the case. They suspect Walt of foul play, but there is absolutely nothing to base this suspicion upon. They have searched his home so many times that Walt actually has a box of ‘search warrants’ in addition to his myriad boxes of grocery lists. Yes Walt is ‘different’. But is this why the police suspect him? Because he is not ‘like’ everybody else, he is misunderstood. He admits he is peculiar. He recognizes this about himself. He doesn’t react to events in the same way that others do. The police find him unfathomable. But is he guilty? Told in the simple yet strangely astute voice of Walt, the novel will keep most reader’s guessing until the last chapter. A simple, yet deceptively deep psychological thriller that will remain in the reader’s memory. Once you meet Walt, you are unlikely to forget him. Highly recommended! This review was originally published on the blog: Fictionophile
Date published: 2015-03-31

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Editorial Reviews

"Walt is a brilliant Chinese-finger-trap of a book. The plainspoken narration draws you in and makes you feel at home, yet all the while Wangersky is cranking the thumbscrews, the grip tightening and tightening until you're left utterly breathless. Think The Silent Wife, think Gone Girl - that same sense of mounting menace, a feeling that things ain't quite right beneath the surface calm. You can read this book in one sitting but I guarantee it'll stay with you for years." - Craig Davidson, author of Cataract City"Meet Walt. Obsessed with shopping lists he picks up in the supermarket where he works, and the women they lead him to. Possibly a stalker. Possibly a peeping Tom. Possibly a murderer. Russell Wangersky's fine novel takes you into the mind of a character you're not likely to forget in a hurry and to places beyond your comfort zone. It's all done with great style, economy, and dollops of dark humour that make it a joy toread and difficult to put down." - Peter Robinson, author of the Inspector Banks series"Read him: Cross of Ishmael Reed and Lou Reed. Here be expert experimentalism: The dictionary exploded and reloaded; the canon fired and melted down." - George Elliott Clark, author of I & I and Poet Laureate of Toronto, 2012-15"One of the most unsettling crime novels I've read this year.Wangersky can write extraordinarily well in a number of disciplines, so it's only reasonable to expect that, when turning his attention to psychological suspense, he'd excel at this, too." - Sarah Weinman, National Post"a full-on psychological thriller in the vein of John Fowles' 1963 classic The Collector....contains a number of chilling scenes....Wangersky does a good job keeping the reader guessing as to whether Walt is a bona fide killer, or just another garden-variety creep." - Stacey Madden, Quill and Quire"a frank, penetrating thriller... the wordcraft here is crisp, tight and evocative" - J.M. Sullivan, St John's Telegram"[Russell] has a gift for astute observation, wisely chosen detail, and characterization that nods in certain directions without forcing or pushing. Just as vitally, he and Walt demonstrate the ways the rhythms and music of words can be used to build sensation - and serious unease - on the page." - Joan Barfoot, London Free Press"a character-driven literary novel, with the suspense of a thriller.rich, evocative writing makes everything in the book feel remarkably real" - Chad Pelley, The Overcast"[Wangersky] follows in the footsteps of Mailer and Dostoevsky, delving into the psychology of a deeply disturbed character." - That Shakespearean Rag"a cracking good story" - David Pitt, Booklist