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Everything ravaged, everything burned
Tower, Wells
Adult Fiction TOWER

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From Publishers' Weekly:

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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