Narwhal Party


Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
03/03/2010, 9:07 pm
Filed under: Books | Tags: , , ,

The nine stories that comprise Well’s Tower’s debut book follow characters—mostly men—of all ages that just can’t quite get it right. They’re all on the verge of something, for better or worse. Most of them try, or at least intend to try, but fall short again and again. The stories range from eerie to embarrassing and most of them include some sort of violence blooming out of the commonplace. The stories aren’t necessarily dark; in fact they are often charmingly funny. In the opening story, “The Brown Coast,” the protagonist is trying to escape a lost job, a lawsuit, and a failed marriage, and seems to only dig himself deeper. In “Retreat,” a brotherly rivalry leads only to failure. “Down Through The Valley” features a narrator who, in doing a favor for his ex-wife’s boyfriend, unexpectedly creates violent chaos. Other stories feature other failures and losers: a senile chess fanatic, a boy faking illness to avoid his stepfather, an elderly war vet soliciting a prostitute. In “Wild America,” much like the James Joyce story “An Encounter,” the thing causing that sinking fear in us never quite comes to pass, or is even outright mentioned. There’s also a gory and poignant story about Vikings… Here is a short, animated adaptation:

Tower also has a wonderful story called “Raw Water” in McSweeney’s Thirty-Two.

And here is a wonderful article from The Rumpus on Wells Tower’s 90s post-punk band.

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