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Everything Ravaged Everything Burned

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About the Author

Tower was born in Vancouver in 1973. He has been the recipient of the Paris Review Discovery Prize, two Pushcart Prizes and a Henfield Foundation award. He lives in New York.


The stories in this outstanding debut collection explore the troubled relationships of men down on their luck, in failed marriages, estranged from family, caught in imbroglios between sons and their fathers and stepfathers, and even, in "Wild America," the subtle and ferocious competition between teenage girls. Bob Monroe, the protagonist of "The Brown Coast," loses his job, his inheritance and his wife after the death of his father. The narrator of "Down Through the Valley," meanwhile, is persuaded to drive his ex-wife's boyfriend home from an ashram after he injures himself. In "Leopard," the threat of a missing pet leopard lurking in the woods hints at a troubled 11-year-old's rage toward his stepfather. The narrator of "Down Through the Valley" has a savage freak-out that terrifies him. The strange and magnificent title story, in which Vikings set off again toward an oft-raided island, beautifully ties the collection together in its heartbreaking final paragraph. Tower's uncommon mastery of tone and wide-ranging sympathy creates a fine tension between wry humor and the primal rage that seethes just below the surface of each of his characters. (Mar.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

The title of this outstanding collection could well refer to the lives of the characters that Pushcart Prize winner Tower writes about-most often, individuals whose lives have fallen apart and are struggling through the difficult transition between a lost past and an uncertain future. In "The Brown Coast," a recent divorce working to restore a run-down seaside cottage in Texas owned by his uncle makes the acquaintance of a veterinarian and his wife. "Retreat" concerns the strained relationship between another middle-aged divorce who has recently purchased land in Maine and the brother he invites for a visit, a solitary music therapist from Seattle. The title story, ranging farthest in place and time, ostensibly concerns a band of Vikings out on a rather desultory raid of a nearby island, but it seems as much about the universal transition from the wild single life to the settled world of marriage and family. Tower has crafted a powerful and assured debut collection. Highly recommended for all public libraries.-Lawrence Rungren, Merrimack Valley Lib. Consortium, North Andover, MA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"This arresting debut collection of stories decisively establishes Mr. Tower as a writer of uncommon talent."--Michiko Kakutani, "The New York Times" "Artful and funny and empathetic. His fictional universe is a perfectly balanced little biosphere of violence and mercy, aggression and nurturing."--Sam Anderson, "New York" magazine "A striking, often savage first collection of stories. Tower's language is as compact and muscular as a wrestler's body."--Heller McAlpin, "San Francisco Chronicle""" "Tower writes about raggedy men, neglected boys, and quarrelsome Vikings who are down on their luck (if they ever had any). But the stories are very funny, and surprising, and possess a rugged beauty."--Vendela Vida, "Vanity Fair""" "Tower seems incapable of writing a boring description. A crackling, head-turning debut."--Jonathan Miles, "Men's Journal""" "It sometimes feels as if there's nothing Tower can't render in arresting fashion. His

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