“Creatively, music’s biggest impact is attention to sound—mainly rhythm. A sentence always needs a certain number of syllables in it. And my characters have soundtracks.” Steven Wingate talks with Chris Harding Thornton about her debut novel, Pickard County Atlas.
“This sounds like a lot. And it is. But van den Berg presents it all with remarkable economy.” Elizabeth Mayer on Laura van den Berg’s “Hill of Hell.” Look for van den Berg’s new collection, I Hold a Wolf by the Ears, from FSG in July.
“Stanley’s obsession with the confounding space at the center of himself presents itself as a proper noir MacGuffin.” Michael A. Ferro reviews Joseph Scapellato’s The Made-Up Man, out this month from FSG.
Shelly Oria on journeying with her characters: “I follow the voice; I usually have no idea where the fuck we’re going. I’m a hitchhiker and often the driver is kind of an asshole. Or not really an asshole, just very preoccupied with someone or something that isn’t me.”
The first things you feel are joy and awe. The stories in Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, Wells Tower’s first collection, are pieces that care, first and last, about telling a damn good story. Tower’s use of compression and summary to contextualize poignant or dramatic scenes is elegant and efficient. The granular and hilarious detailing of landscapes—North Carolina’s landscapes, in particular, are exuberantly and beautifully rendered in this collection—and of characters is solid, remarkable. The virtuosic moments in Tower’s prose make us gape, wince, laugh out loud: the hilarious or heart-rending one-liners, the hard-eyed endings, the way in which objects are imbued with astonishing, imagined inner lives of their own. But these stories are also relentlessly cynical.
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