When Wells Tower's collection of short stories, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), debuted, its sparkling prose caught the eye of many a lit critic. The New York Times even deemed his talent to be "uncommon." So what is the big deal? Perhaps it is the scope of tone and emotion that he covers. Though Everything is a decidedly masculine work, the range of subjects is impressive. There's a man who is struggling though his current situation, jobless, recently fatherless, and divorced. There's a young boy who is angry at his stepfather while a wildcat wanders the neighborhood. There's the title story, in which a pack of Vikings head out to pillage an island. Each tale is like a different flavor, from somber to humorous to poetic or contemplative. Should Tower ever decide to write a full-fledged novel, it will be interesting to see if he sticks to one subject.
Tue., Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m., 2010