Everything Ravaged Everything Burned

Wells Tower

First Sentence: Bob Munroe woke up on his face.

This is a fantastic collection of stories. The writing really is jaw-droppingly good. There are several quotes of admiration all over the back of this book, and another couple of pages full of quotes inside the front cover. Sometimes this type of endless fawning leaves me doubtful, but after reading this collection, I can see that the praise here  is truly justified.  The quote from The Times on the cover sums it up perfectly for me : “Sentences so good you want to cut them out and pin them to the wall”. Whatever about the style, the characters, the story, the themes etc. it is the sheer pleasure in reading these finely crafted sentences that you remember most. The story I have chosen for the first sentence, last sentence treatment is The Brown Coast, mostly because I think it’s a great opening, but really I could have picked any of them. They really are all that good.

* * * * *

Last Sentence: It was a good, soaring toss, and it might have dropped the creature into the pretty young woman’s lap had not a surge of warm wind rolled off the land and pushed the sailboat from the shore.

Last Sentence explained: Bob is getting a divorce and Bob is not happy. He goes to stay at his friend’s Beach house to get some time away and also to fix the place up but he is soon either preoccupied with new neighbours  Claire and Derrick, or spending his time collecting crabs and fish and eels from the sea to put in his aquarium. After he builds up a nice little collection, Claire inadvertently gives him a gift of a sea cucumber which proceeds to kill all of Bob’s fish on its first night in the tank. Bob then begins to relate to the slug and feels if he were born a sea creature he would probably be like him, so he decides to throw him back in the sea, even though he has killed all his fish. When they get to the shore they spot a young, beautiful couple in the sea which brings us to the final sentence…

Random quotes just because…:

(It’s all about the sentences)

“A big halide bulb buzzed at the top of the telephone pole, and a confetti of moths bumped and tumbled in the yellow glare.”

“A bumblebee trying to fuck a marble.”

“He’d tell me love was like the chicken pox, a thing to get through early because it could really kill you in your later years.

“I bolted down my gnocchi so quickly that it formed a baseball in my throat.”

“For quite a while, we’d been nothing but an argument looking for different ways to happen.”

“I’d eat her whole damn child just to taste the thing he squeezed out of.”

“…watch the sun stitch its orange skirt across the horizon.”


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