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Everything Ravaged, Everything Burnedby Wells Tower
The long-awaited debut collection by Wells Tower does not disappoint. Full of masterful tales, brilliant humor, and soul-shattering pathos, Tower's work should place him at the forefront of American storytellers.
Every story here feels like a weird little shot of brilliance. I can only describe this collection as "masterful." I had read the title story a few years before and really loved it, but I actually liked most of the other stories even more. "Retreat" has a great ending that'll make your stomach tumble with laughter and sickness. "Wild America" is full of young female bitterness. And "On the Show" is full of some of the most quotable dialogue ever.
"The phrase 'well-crafted' suggests an unfortunate analogy between a piece of fiction and a piece of furniture. And there is a surprising amount of fiction around that is reasonably accomplished and graceful, or strikingly ornamented, or that skillfully reproduces previous successes in structure or tone and yet feels synthetic and inert — made up, in short, rather than like something that has been transcribed from a revelatory vision." Deborah Eisenberg, New York Review of Books (read the entire New York review of Books)
Synopses & Reviews
A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE
Viking marauders descend on a much-plundered island, hoping some mayhem will shake off the winter blahs. A man is booted out of his home after his wife discovers that the print of a bare foot on the inside of his car's windshield doesn't match her own. Teenage cousins, drugged by summer, meet with a reckoning in the woods. A boy runs off to the carnival after his stepfather bites him in a brawl. Wells Tower's version of America is touched with the seamy splendor of the dropout, the misfit: failed inventors, boozy dreamers, hapless fathers, wayward sons. With electric prose and savage wit, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned is a profound new collection of stories.
"We need books like Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned...What [Towers] portraits lack in grandeur, they compensate for in their accuracy...[The characters] live the way we Americans do." Benjamin Alsup, Esquire
"These are lurid, ingenious, beautiful, delicate, and very funny stories. Full of pity and terror, they are also great fun to read. Wells Tower has written a brilliant book." Benjamin Kunkel, author of Indecision
"Wells Towers' stories are written, thrillingly, in authentic American vernacularviolent, funny, bleak, and beautiful. You need to read them, now." Michael Chabon, author of The Yiddish Policemens Union and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
"This arresting debut collection of stories decisively establishes Mr. Tower as a writer of uncommon talent." The New York Times
About the Author
Wells Tower's writing has appeared in Harper's Magazine, McSweeney's, The Paris Review, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and elsewhere. He received a Pushcart Prize and the Plimpton Discovery Prize from The Paris Review. He lives in North Carolina.
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