Tower’s “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned”

The first statement I want to make is that I don’t understand why this is the title of the collection.  The story seems completely different in structure and type of character to me, and the fact that it is unrealistic fantasy (actually the plot reminded me a lot of How to Train Your Dragon) leaves me wondering why he chose this for the title, other than that it was just a really cool title for a story and it grabs the reader’s attention.

The second thing I want to note is really how different this story seemed to me from everything else in the collection.  The first and most obvious point is that it is fantasy. Wells Tower seems to like to work with very real stories and subjects–loss, relationships, Alzheimer’s, the nitty-gritty hard stuff.  This story deals with dragons. Now maybe I am just having trouble taking it seriously because it’s so fantastical, but I suppose if you look at it, what could be more dramatic and difficult than hunting down a beast that threatens your home.

One of the other things I noticed was that this story did not seem to have as much dialogue as the other stories.  It did have the same choppy page breaks that let certain lines and moments sink in and take full effect on the reader.  I think I could like this story if I read it again at another time; I just couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that it was read for class and that it was Wells Tower who wrote it.

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4 Responses to Tower’s “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned”

  1. John Gregory Brown says:

    Re: “I think I could like this story if I read it again at another time.” Why don’t you “read it another time” now, Greer? And tell us how you liked it the second time? And the third time?

  2. greergordon says:

    I reread half of the story and I feel like I picked out more about the characters. It also struck me that this is the first time we have gotten a narrator that I really dislike. I did not read it again before posting because it was due and I pushed it to the last minute and I am a closed minded buffoon who was far too distracted by the fantasy element to get anything out of reading it again just then. However fake the story may be, the characters felt real and unique. I expected to find the characters cliche the first time through although I shouldn’t have considering the author, but instead we find that they are relatable and far from idealized norsemen or vikings.

  3. brittanyfox says:

    I also felt like this story didn’t really fit with the rest of the short stories we’ve read by Wells Tower. However, I like how the story’s narrator, Harald, is so involved with the actions that occur through out the course of the story. He blends in, helping the reader to understand the different characters, etc. through lots of description. I think the way Tower portrays Harald’s point of view is imperative to understanding the time period and the culture of these characters. The straightforwardness of Harald’s tone provides us with insight to just who his character is and gives us an idea of the harsh, perhaps cold, or abrupt culture he comes from.

  4. heathermctague says:

    This story does fit in with the rest of the book. All of Tower’s stories deal with fractured families and relationships, as does this one. The only difference between this one and the rest is the time period in which it was told.

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