So it has that in common with the stories in Wells Tower’s book Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.
I really wanted to like this book, because a friend of mine liked the writing and because Michael Chabon wrote a blurb for it and Chabon is one of my favorite authors. I tried to like it as I slogged through the stories, but I didn’t. Josh tried to read it with me, like our own personal book club (how sweet is it that he offered to do that?) but about halfway through he quit, wisely deciding not to throw good money after bad.
It bothers me intensely that this book is seen as good by the literary establishment. First, because the writing is strained and forced, and second because the stories are not great stories, they are condescending and trite attempts to “document” life as it is these days. They miss the mark, they have nothing to add to our understanding, they do nothing to illuminate an issue or make the world better.
Moreover, to my first point, the writing is not even that great. People are excited about Tower’s use of imagery, but honestly, I thought his attempts were overdone and often played to tired sterotypes rather than being fresh and insightful. A good writer sees the world in a different way, and makes the reader see something he had never considered before.
Worst of all, the book communicates such a bleak and meager view of life. Writers always put their philosophy in their work, and you can tell that Tower sees others as ignorant beasts, and doesn’t really have any particular hope or sense of redemption.
Although I rarely write completely negative reviews, I absolutely cannot find anything at all to recommend this book.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Although, for pity’s sake, if you click through to Amazon from this post please buy ANY book other than the one I reviewed.