Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

Wells Tower

Published: 1 April 2010
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 240 pages
ISBN: 9781847081209


A man is thrown out of his home after his wife discovers that the sweat-smudged footprint on the inside of his windscreen 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, hilariously try to reassemble themselves. His characters - marauding Vikings, washed-up entrepreneurs and jobbing hacks on local papers - are adrift from the mainstream, confused by contemporary masculinity, angry and aimless. Combining electric prose with compassion and dark wit, this is a major debut.

About the author

Image of Wells Tower

Wells Tower was born in Vancouver in 1973. He received a BA in anthropology and sociology from Wesleyan University and an MFA in fiction writing from Columbia University. He is the recipient of the Paris Review Discovery Prize, a Pushcart Prize and a Henfield Foundation award. He is currently a faculty member in the Creative Writing Program at Columbia University. He lives in New York and has a house in North Carolina. More about the author


‘Like David Foster Wallace, Tower taps into what lies beneath, often comically. There are dazzling points of light and compassion in the darkness’



‘Reading them, you are reminded of how Richard Ford, a master of the craft, once proposed the quality of "audacity" as the defining characteristic of perfect short stories, suggesting that they were always "the high-wire act of literature". In this sense, Tower certainly makes you crane your neck’

‘Short stories exploring love, violence and the fear that has us lying, eyes open, in the dark. An extraordinary debut and a sensitive, surprising voice’

‘Stories from modern America - angry young men, mellow young men, troubled teenage girls, sons visiting demented fathers - by an edgy, ultra-realist young writer.’

‘The failed American dream is frequently picked over in literature, but this debut collection of short stories will make you feel you've never read about it before ... the disarming honesty and startling imagery make each tale an intense, articulate and near-tangible nugget of cultural disaffection ’

‘Tower's prose is muscular and poetic with an almost vertiginous momentum and his characters teeter on the brink of emotional collapse ... This is a collection that, for once, lives up to the hype. Watch out for Wells’

‘Towers is an original, with an extraordinary way with words’

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