Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower 2009

This book was recommended to me by my niece’s boyfriend so when I saw it on the shelf in a used bookstore, I grabbed it.

While I found most of the stories to be well written, I didn’t love the book.  Tower received many accolades when it was published in 2009, being named one of The New Yorker’s “20 under 40” authors and being one of Michiko Kakutani’s ten best books of the year.  Since then, he’s only published one more book while writing screenplays and short stories and articles for magazines.

The short stories in this book are often jarring—a seven year old boy is molested at a fairgrounds, a teen age girl is molested by an older man at a beach, a man’s brother appears at his cabin in rural Maine and they renew their fighting, and on and on.  The eponymous story is an ironic look at middle age when a raping and pillaging Viking decides to settle down, raise a family, and give up the old life stye.

Bottom line is that I’m probably too old for this collection. The glowing review in the New York Times from Edmund White starts out ‘Remarkable’ and there is that Top 10 rating from Kakutani, so you might have a go at it and see what you think.