ever have someone tell you to stand up straight? look you in the eye when they're talking?

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
Wells Tower
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Though I’m only two stories into Well Tower’s first collection, “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned”, the book is turning into a delightful find. Towers spins his prose with a quirky matter-of-factness making the odd and strange seem at home amongst the norm of everyday life.

In the first story of the book, “The Brown Coast”, Bob has had a run of bad luck and has moved, temporarily while things cool down back home, into a shitty little seaside cottage owned by his uncle. He’s supposed to be fixing the place up, but instead, spends most of his time either drinking with the neighbors or hunting sea creatures in tide pools for his home aquarium. While he futzes the days and weeks away, bored of life on the quiet coast, the aquarium becomes an obsession. He meticulously cleans it, consults local experts and finds great pride in the job he’s done rebuilding the tank environs from scratch, without help. Perhaps this is a sign that he can too rebuild his life, get back with his wife, find a new job back home. But one evening, the wife of the local vet comes by with a present for his tank, some kind of sea slug, which she’d found earlier in the day. The next morning, Bob wakes up to find everything but the ugly slug floating dead in the tank.

Towers builds up his stories like Bob built up his aquarium, with attention to detail and great care, only to watch—perhaps not all that disappointedly—as things inevitably take a turn for the worse. Towers knows that the sublime and the let down are neighbors on the scale of human emotions. I’m looking forward to digging further into this book and hearing more from this talented young writer.

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