Wells Tower is an American writer of short stories and non-fiction. He was born in Vancouver in 1973. He is the recipient of The Paris Review Discovery Prize, a Pushcart Prize and a Henfield Foundation award. He lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and owns a house in North Carolina. Farrar, Straus and Giroux published Tower's first short story collection, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned in 2009, to outstanding reviews. It has recently been published by Granta in paperback, and is highly recommended. Perfect for reading when time is limited.
A man is booted out of his home after his wife discovers that the sweat-smudged footprint on the inside of his windscreen doesn't match her own. Teenage cousins, drugged by summer, meet with a reckoning in the woods. A boy runs off to the carnival after his stepfather bites him in a brawl. In the stories of Wells Tower, families fall apart and messily, hilariously try to reassemble themselves. His characters - marauding Vikings, washed-up entrepreneurs, and jobbing hacks on local papers - are adrift from the mainstream, confused by contemporary masculinity, angry and aimless. Combining electric prose with compassion and dark wit, this is a major debut.
Monday, 30 November 2009
Posted by Trapnel at 23:18
Monday, 23 November 2009
I have done well this year in predicting winners and shortlists for some major literary awards, but somewhat to my surprise three of my selections feature in the shortlist for the bad sex award. Nick Cave, Jonathan Littell and Richard Milward join a select group of overwhelmingly male authors, but Philip Roth looks a good bet to me this year. The award is meant to be for bad writing about sex, rather than good writing about bad sex, so I think that maybe some of the books have been shortlisted for the wrong reasons. Anyway, good coverage in the Guardian for those who are interested, and I will update this entry after the climax of the ceremony.
PS - Victory for Jonathan Littell - and well deserved!
Posted by Trapnel at 21:12
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Posted by Trapnel at 20:31
Sunday, 15 November 2009
"Reminiscent of early John Grisham and Walter Mosley, this taut, fast-paced novel heralds an exciting and powerful new voice in fiction. Big oil and its twin, corporate corruption, meet their match with Jay Porter, a struggling personal injury attorney down on his luck, who suddenly finds himself in a situation spiraling out of control. Jay knows a boat ride on the Bayou won't measure up to his wife's expectations of a birthday celebration, but it's all he can afford. Once a man of virtuous ideals, he is now just waiting for a break. All that changes when midway through dinner, gun shots and sharp cries for help ring out. When he fishes a woman out of the Bayou, his sixth sense tells him this charitable act will lead to no good. Unraveling the woman's past, Jay finds himself enmeshed in a web that weaves together greed, politics, and corporate corruption. And the secrets of his own past come back to either haunt or save him."
Posted by Trapnel at 14:54
Sunday, 8 November 2009
“ Katrina Marino is about to become America’s most infamous murder victim. This is Katrina’s story, and the story of her killer. It is also the story of Katrina’s neighbors, those who witness her murder and do nothing: the terrified Vietnam draftee; the woman who thinks she’s killed a child, and her husband who will risk everything for her; the former soldier planning suicide and the man who saves him. And others whose lives are touched by the crime: the elderly teacher whose past is catching up with him; the amateur blackmailer who’s about to find out just what sort of people he’s been threatening; the corrupt cop who believes he is God’s “red right hand.” Shocking and compassionate, angry and gripping, Acts of Violence is a sprawling, cinematic tour-de-force, a terrifying crime novel unlike any other.”
Posted by Trapnel at 18:28
Friday, 6 November 2009
I am a big fan of Simon Armitage's writing, and I have been browsing through The Twilight Readings, a short volume of readings which he gave while writer in residence at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Armitage is always an interesting poet, whether writing his own verse or translating the classics into contemporary language, and in his prose he is a wry and humorous story teller. The Twilight Readings is no exception, as in this excerpt from the start of a short story:
So George has this theory: the first thing we ever steal, when we're young, is a symbol of what we become later in life, when we grow up. Example: when he was nine he stole a Mont Blanc fountain pen from a fancy gift shop in a hotel lobby - now he's an award winning novelist. We test this theory around the table and it seems to check out. Clint stole a bottle of cooking sherry, now he owns a Tapas Bar. Kirsty's an investment banker and she stole money from her mother's purse. Tod took a Curly Wurly and he's morbidly obese."
The story subsequently takes a slightly sinister turn for the worse, but it still sounds like an interesting party game, and Armitage without doubt would be a very entertaining guest.
Posted by Trapnel at 20:05
Sunday, 1 November 2009
“"The Lacuna" is the story of a man's search for safety in the grinding jaws of two nations, at a moment when the entire world seemed bent on reinventing itself at any cost. Born in the U.S., reared in a series of provisional households in Mexico, Harrison Shepherd is mostly a liability to his social-climbing flapper mother, Salome. Sometimes she gives her son cigarettes instead of supper. Making himself useful in the household of the famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera, his wife Frida Kahlo and exiled Bolshevik leader Lev Trotsky, young Shepherd inadvertently casts his lot with art and revolution, and the howling gossip and reportage that dictate public opinion. A violent upheaval sends him north to a nation newly caught up in the internationalist good will of World War II. In the mountain city of Asheville, North Carolina he remakes himself in America's hopeful image. But political winds continue to throw him between north and south, in a plot that turns many times on the unspeakable breach - the lacuna - between truth and public presumption. This is a gripping story of identity, connection with our past, and the power of words to create or devastate. Crossing two decades, from the vibrant revolutionary murals of Mexico City to the halls of a Congress bent on eradicating the color Red, "The Lacuna" is as deep and rich as the New World.”
Posted by Trapnel at 19:07