Initially I planned an anthology made exclusively of final stories from collections. A book of endings. But I quickly realised that many stories that work beautifully as the finale of a book don’t do so well in other contexts. A final story tends to take risks an opening story never would. Perhaps writers put their more challenging material at the end on the principle that – if the reader has got that far – then they’re probably enjoying themselves and ready to experiment. This is certainly true of Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, the final story in Wells Tower’s debut collection. The eight stories that precede it earn the goodwill that allows him to finish with a tale of slacker-vikings pulling each other’s lungs out. I’ve put that story at the end of my list. My plan is to work up to it.

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