Reading for Me

The Books I Have Read…..Just for Me

#3: Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned (Wells Tower)

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned is the debut collection of short stories by the American author, Wells Tower. I was thrilled to see a brand new voice included on “My Library Shelf” project. However, reviewing a collection of unrelated stories can be challenging.

The theme of familial relationships united many of the stories in Everything Ravaged. Sometimes the families were traditional; others were groups with common bonds that made them like family. Almost without fail, the families described would be classified as dysfunctional. A teenage girl preparing for a tryst with a man older than her father. A boy is sexually molested in a carnival bathroom while his father is on a blind date. A pre-teen boy pretends to pass out in the driveway due to the exertion caused by walking to the mailbox; his charade leads to the intervention of the police.

Tower’s stories are enjoyable pieces for the most part, although they left this reader a bit unfulfilled with each conclusion. The issue for me was not that things were left unresolved; consistently, the story just seemed to end abruptly. There was no ambiguity to be considered. There was no image that was burned into the mind’s eye. After reading the final story, I admitted that they were nicely told….but I wouldn’t say they made a tremendous impact on the audience. They were simply stories — in the most basic sense of the word.

I read the collection. I wouldn’t be opposed to reading Tower’s future works. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned did not inspire me to actively seek out the author’s periodical publications. I’m left a little uninspired to say the least.

What’s coming up for me? I’ve got several books in the active stack at the moment.

  1. The Crazyladies of Pearl Street – Trevanian
  2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon
  3. Menahem Pressler: Artistry in Piano Teaching – William Brown
  4. Mendelssohn: A Life in Music – R. Larry Todd

With that stack of books, I suppose I should get my glasses on and get to work.

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