Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower
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Synopsis

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 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.

In the stories of Wells Tower, families fall apart and messily try to reassemble themselves. His version of America is touched with the seamy splendor of the dropout, the misfit: failed inventors, boozy dreamers, hapless fathers, wayward sons. Combining electric prose with savage wit, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned is a major debut, announcing a voice we have not heard before.

 

About Wells Tower

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Wells Tower’s short stories and journalism have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, The Washington Post Magazine, and elsewhere. He received two Pushcart Prizes and the Plimpton Prize from The Paris Review. He divides his time between Chapel Hill, North Carolina and Brooklyn, New York.
 
Published March 17, 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 250 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

Kirkus Reviews

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Tower’s stories could last 15 rounds with Donald Ray Pollock’s story collection Knockemstiff (2008), after which both volumes would likely scrape themselves off the mat, bloody and raw, and go split a bottle of rotgut whiskey.

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The New York Times

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In Wells Tower’s sad-funny-disturbing stories, the world is a precarious place, where the innocent have bad dreams, and even the not-so-innocent worry about “the things the world will do to them” and their loved ones.

Mar 23 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Ravaged, Everythin...

The New York Times

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This polished debut story collection takes its sustenance from class conflict, rough men and strong women, and the intersection between hotheads and cool customers.

Mar 29 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Ravaged, Everythin...

Los Angeles Times

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In the title story of his debut collection, "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned," Wells Tower uses contemporary American idiom to tell the story of a Viking having second thoughts about his career as a plunderer and pillager.

Mar 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Ravaged, Everythin...

The Independent

We XYs don't come out of Wells Tower's short stories too well.

Apr 19 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Ravaged, Everythin...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

One of my favorite moments in Wells Tower's debut collection of short stories does not concern any of his human characters at all.

Mar 20 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Ravaged, Everythin...

Bookmarks Magazine

Andrew Ervin New York Times 4.5 of 5 Stars "This arresting debut collection of stories decisively establishes Mr. Tower … as a writer of uncommon talent, a writer with Sam Shepard’s radar for the violent, surreal convolutions of American society;

Mar 16 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Ravaged, Everythin...

Chamber Four

Coin hoard, I’d really turn things around for myself.” A common criticism of story collections is that they are “uneven.” Excepting these last two pieces, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned is just the opposite, a bit too even.

May 04 2010 | Read Full Review of Everything Ravaged, Everythin...

Esquire

The emphasis is on life as it is lived — not in the grandeur of the cineplex but in small houses, and in the small moments of boredom and despair that characterize so much of our lives.

Mar 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Ravaged, Everythin...

New York Magazine

Anyone who’s taken even a lazy stroll through the well-worn territory of destructive fictional masculinity—Hemingway, Carver, Faulkner, Roth, Cheever, Yates, Bolaño, et al.—will recognize the basic flora and fauna of Wells Tower’s stories: the hunting trips, the fistfights, the hard drinking, the...

Mar 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Ravaged, Everythin...

Fiction Writers Review

Page by page, story by story, we begin to doubt the purpose of these stories, to doubt our right to the pleasure we felt reading the first half of the book.

May 16 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Ravaged, Everythin...

Crikey

We really go through a lot of drafts, and he’s really a lot of fun to work for, even though I think every story I’ve ever done with him, I get to a point where I just think there’s no way of making this story good, so can we please just not do this.

Sep 11 2009 | Read Full Review of Everything Ravaged, Everythin...

Reader Rating for Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
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