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Everything Ravaged Everything Burned by…
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Everything Ravaged Everything Burned (original 2009; edition 2010)

by Wells Tower

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6843813,957 (3.78)49
Member:simon_girard
Title:Everything Ravaged Everything Burned
Authors:Wells Tower
Info:Penguin Canada (2010), Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower (2009)

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English (35)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (37)
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
Excellent writing, but kind of a downer. Many of the stories lack a cohesive ending, which isn't necessarily bad, it just added to the general feeling of hopelessness.

I was reading this while sitting outside practice rooms while my daughter was at a weekend-long flute workshop. I kept feeling ashamed of myself, like I'd done something really wrong that I knew was really wrong, but I couldn't think of anything I'd actually done. Then I realized that the shame of the characters was leaching into my own emotions. My spouse says I should stop reading books like this if I'm going to feel this way afterward. I'm not about to take his advice, but I will work harder to recognize it's happening before the shame really sets in.

The final story about the inner life of a Viking warrior is my favorite of the collection. I enjoyed how the Vikings in the story had such complex interactions and reactions to things. They would do these extremely brutal things that they're supposed to revel in or at least consider just part of a day's work, but instead a few are just burned out on pillaging and just want to settle down and live in peace. I tend not to think of Vikings as real people, but of course they were; this story (although fiction) helped me see the nuanced reactions they may well have had to all of the violence. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Jan 20, 2014 |
The Viking story felt a little gimmicky at times and the carnival story had already worn me out a bit - but the first four stories are an unstoppable play that will win over just about any reader. Tower has a way with words, describing things uniquely without overdoing it, and he captures that late-90s feel of summer perfectly: a simpler time that was still terribly complex all the same. It's the right kind of collection to read on a hot-but-not-hot day, the sort of day that seems to've been washed away in the recent heatwaves of these unbearable summers. Things weren't necessarily better in these stories - but the memory makes them feel that way.

More at RB: http://wp.me/pGVzJ-M7 ( )
  drewsof | Sep 10, 2013 |
A collection of short stories, most them having a central theme of a displaced male and often a bad father/son relationship. In "The Brown Coast", the death of a father causes a man's marriage to fall apart and sends him to stay at a rundown beach property where he begins capturing sea creatures. In "The Executors of Important Energies", a young man who has had little parenting from his father is forced to spend an evening with him now that mental decline has made the father little more than a child. "Leopard" is about a boy who believes his stepfather hates him.
Tower creates realistic stories; there are no flights into fantasy, no surrealism. The plots often involve someone struggling to hold on to what little bit they have or to find something to do with themselves. Most often the main character is a man who has to start over after a marriage ending, financial loss or being kicked out by the parents. I was pulled into each new story immediately, though it did get a bit monotonous to have story after story about males wanting to find their place. There's one story told from the point of a teenage girl.
One other thing that I would have liked to have seen was a few stories that had more of an ending. I like a story that leaves the reader with multiple choices for what happened next, but Tower's endings aren't endings so much as an interruption in the middle of a conversation, like he meant to keep going but forgot what he wanted to say. I don't mean to dissuade anyone from reading this book because it's his first and it's pretty good. ( )
  mstrust | May 22, 2013 |
Life is unlike the books of Orson Scott Card or Mercedes Lackey, where we are told in detail exactly how someone arrives at a decision (through pages of thoughts in italics in Lackey's case, sigh). Life is more like this, wading through the muck of living, acting and reacting without real prior planning. In my glass-half-empty moments, I feel like this continues until consequences accumulate to a critical point and progress has to be stopped to deal with the overflow.

I still haven't quite figured out why I read or what for. If left to myself, I wouldn't have picked up this story collection. But man, is the writing incredible. I need to remember to mark things as I read. The subjects and topics aren't whiz-bang, they're not lovely crystal moments that ache to be preserved. It must be the skill of the writer that limns these stories with a grace that I can't really attribute to the plots? Writer craft, it's magic.

Eight of the nine stories have contemporary settings. I don't see how the last, title story fits into the set. It's pretty funny, like something set to tuba music, of Vikings presented like tired suburban dwellers. ( )
  EhEh | Apr 3, 2013 |
A delight from beginning to end. ( )
  dmarsh451 | Mar 31, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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For my brothers: Dan, Lake, and Joe
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Bob Munroe woke up on his face.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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original title: Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374292191, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:45:02 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A collection of darkly comic short works includes the stories of a man who is thrown out of his house when his wife discovers his infidelity in a bizarre way, teen cousins who share a woodland comeuppance, and a youth who flees to a carnival life after being bitten by his father.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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