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Hardcover Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned: Stories Book

ISBN: 0374292191

ISBN13: 9780374292195

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned: Stories

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Format: Hardcover

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

In Tower's debut collection of stories, families fall apart and messily try to reassemble themselves in an America that is touched with the seamy splendor of the dropout, the misfit, boozy dreamers, hapless fathers, and wayward sons.

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Possibly the most prolific short story writer of this era.

Wells Tower doesn't care if you're satisfied finishing one of his dozen or so stories in "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned." You may find yourself reading the last line of a story, then flip to the next page, looking for the ending. Often, his stories seem to just halt, mid experience, just like real life. And just like real life, there aren't many happy, neatly wrapped conclusions to his often disturbing tales. The most terrifying imagery Towers uses aren't written out at all. It will be your own mind that tortures you with the possibilities of the unwritten. Towers restraint may just be his greatest gift. No matter what you feel when you finish a Towers tale, one thing is to be sure. You'll want more.

Guy Stories for the Rest of Us

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned By Wells Tower 2010, Picador, (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux) Review by Debra Louise Scott Wells Tower has put forth a delightful collection of "guy stories" (except for one about a teen girl). Even though I'm of the other gender, I thoroughly enjoyed them and found sardonic echoes of my father, my ex-husband, an ex-boyfriend, my brother-in-law and more. Wells writes from the gut while consistently turning out masterful twists of language, image and simile. "What I heard of his music was gloomy, the sound track you might crave in an idling car with a hose running from the tailpipe, but nothing you could hum." Retreat Each story sounds like it's being relayed by a good friend who has just accepted a beer and propped his feet up on the coffee table. The stories flip from intriguing, to humorous, to disturbing, to tragic, but all feel real. Wells especially goes out of his way to challenge the way we automatically pigeon-hole people and think we know who they are with just a glance. By the time we get through the short 30 odd pages of story, we see the character with a depth that usually takes a few chapters of a novel to achieve. The exception to this was the one with a girl as the protagonist. She had a more shallow aspect, almost as if Wells heard the story from his sister and was trying to set it down in print, without really understanding what makes her tick. However the basis of the story was real enough and I found echoes of my own teenage traumas lurking among the words. The only real issue I had with the writing was his odd propensity to make the last paragraph somewhat of a non-sequitur. Sort of like the storyteller was on his second or third beer by now and starting to drift.


I read no reviews prior to reading this. A friend just handed it to me, said it was good. I'd rank it pretty close to terrific. Tower's writing is relaxed. I have a low tolerance for showy writing. The stories here come across as earnest, heartfelt and gritty. It seems to me that Tower puts far more emphasis on character work than wordsmith wonders. Yes, there are occasional flashes of nifty imagery but it's within bounds, within the framework of the story. "I looked in the rearview. Barry had his good foot propped on the back of Marie's seat. His pants were hiked up, showing a shin about as big around as a deer's leg, and covered so thickly in coarse black hair you could have hung a toothpick in it." The amount of information Tower imparts in a few short brush strokes is remarkable. I'm not sure I can pick a favorite but enjoyed "Retreat" immensely for the tense relationship between the brothers and "Wild America" for capturing female teenage ennui. For the most part, the characters are on the down-and-out side but Tower finds their heart in each and every case. The title piece is a curveball about Vikings pillaging and worse. Coming last in the volume, it made me reflect back on all the brutality in our own world and how we are capable of quickly rushing to judgment. If you enjoy short stories as the occasional palate cleanser to a deep novel, the nine pieces in "Everything Ravaged" might be just what you need.

Amazing writing; haunting and memorable. Tough to take though.

This is amazing writing; haunting and memorable. I eventually had to put the book down though; I couldn't take that much pain time and again in so short a period.

packs more into less :)

i am picky to a fault about the fiction writers i enjoy. i'm constantly thinking about how *i* would've written the phrease, sentence, or paragraph i just read... so their prose has to be PERFECT, or else i get tired really quick. i return a lot of books to the library 99% unread. i like john le carre, i like james ellroy, and i like wells tower. the three are nothing alike, except for being awezome in their own way. you should check out a couple pages of "ER,EB" just to see if it clicks for you.

marvelous and original language and situations

I started to read this book skeptically, but from the first story found myself completely disarmed. My favorite stories are "Retreat" and "Wild America," both gorgeously unexpected treatments of their subjects (in the first, sibling relationships, and in the second adolescent girls and sexual discovery). Nothing I could say about the way Wells Tower goes into his stories could possibly prepare you for the surprising pleasures of his language. He's always funny without sneering or being self-satisfied in his conclusions regarding this big messy thing, "American culture." He's sly and humble. But his sentences--the core of any literary enterprise as far as I'm concerned--are at the crux of his art. Carefully wrought, they approximate the uniqueness and the varieties of personal experience. And did I mention how funny he is? Anyone who cares about word choice or a fresh eye trained on the observations he makes (in the tradition of Joy Williams or Richard Yates, say) will read them aloud more than once and chuckle. Beautiful.
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