Friday, January 4, 2013

Wells Tower _Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned_ Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Wells Tower's book of short stories, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned is a fine collection of short stories illustrating indispensable storytelling.

Notable stories for this reader included "Brown Coast," "Retreat," and "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned."

In "Brown Coast," Bob Monroe's dad just dies, and he takes his uncle's advice and moves to a house that uncle now owns to fix it up, as well as to get away from marital tension. Images of sea life wonderfully and strangely convey character, and we end with a feeling of enlightened despair but also of knowledge. In "Retreat," the same kind of afterglow occurs, in which our point-of-view character realizes some deep-down flaw inside himself, and once again, wildlife helps to convey that realization that sheds light on a conflict with a younger brother.

The final story of the book, "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned" will always remain in my mind, partly because of Tower's absolute gift for rendering the concrete detail. Beware: blood eagle.

Bravo to a fine collection of short stories here. This is an excellent book from a hell of a writer.

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