Wells Tower Reads "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned"

There's been a boatload of buzz, but not a lot of audio available from Wells Tower, whose début collection, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, has been hailed as the savior of the entire short story movement in America. Thanks to The Guardian Books Podcast, you can now listen to or download Tower reading the title story in its entirety.  The unadorned 25-minute reading is available at The Guardian site here, and on iTunes here. It's graded "Explicit," and there is a little "language," as well as a harrowing scene. Don't listen to it close to bedtime, or before you go for a lonely walk along the coast of Norway.

Unforgettable Details
Sam Tanenhaus interviewed the author for the New York Times' Book Review podcast's 3/27/09 episode (first 6 Minutes). Tower talks about how he came across the unforgettable foot detail (Minute 1:50) that he uses in one of the modern-day stories. He also reads the ending of the "Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned" story (Minute 4), so save this interview until after you've listened to the Guardian podcast, unless you like your stories spoiled.

Pillage and Publish
The New Yorker online has a print interview (no audio) with Tower, in which he discusses his research into the Vikings' "most ugly bits," the drastic editing changes he made to his stories after he sold the collection (talk about guts), and his literary influences. On a separate web page he talks about his Updike-like separation of fiction & nonfiction workspaces (photos here). The complete text of his story "Leopard," which is quite tame compared to the Vikings, is also available at the New Yorker's site.

Along with American writer Lionel Shriver (who lives in the UK), Tower was scheduled to discuss the future of the short story in Britain (!) at The Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival on 4/5/2009, so I expect some more audio may turn up soon on the Times Online Books Podcast listing.


  1. Also see the interview with Tower in the (inaugural) spring issue of Wag's Review:

  2. Thanks, M.R.! Here's a link to the beginning page of the interview: