Wells Tower, he of the acclaimed collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, has a new short story in the latest New Yorker, called The Landlord. I am simply recommending that you read it. Tower was recently named one of the 20 Under 40 by that same magazine – a list of 20 great American writers under the age of 40. (Also on the list, Rivka Galchen, whose compact & punchy little story “The Entire North Side Was Covered With Fire” lead me to her novel, Atmospheric Disturbances, which I am now reading. Yes, Rivka is a girl.) But more importantly, Wells Tower makes me laugh:
I see blue eyes of startling clarity and nearly unlined skin that doesn’t show a single dilated pore. Somehow, Todd has found the secret of eternal youth. The formula is fourteen gallons of Pepsi-Cola a week, heavy use of Black & Mild cigarillos, and hatred of all living creatures.
But he can also awe you with his skills:
The beauty of the land out here is nearly absurd. Full-fed, ale-colored cattle watch us from fields of grass so vivid in the late light that each blade looks hand-tinted. Fall-blooming sneezeweeds dot the ditches, woozy with the weight of their broad red heads.
Wells Tower: read him, know him, love him.