The Landlord; Wells Tower

“Well, sir, first I beat him with my right hand until I broke a knuckle. Then I beat him with my left hand until I broke another knuckle. Then I drove to Utah. I’m in Utah now.”

Wells Tower is an American author of short stories and non-fiction. He is also a faculty memeber of Columbia University's Creative Writing Program. He was born in Vancouver in 1973, grew up in North Carolina, and currently resides in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Tower has recieved many awards for his literature, including Pushcart Prizes, the 2002 Plimpton (Discover) Prize from the Paris Review, a Henfield Foundation Award, and the Tenth Annual New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award.

This short story was published on The New Yorker website on September 13, 2010. One strength I took notice of within this tale is that each character speaks in tune with their personality. Rather then writing dialogue he would want to hear, Tower allows each character to speak as if it seems they would if they chose their own words. This instills the characters within reality, at very least a reality of their own. Even a short way into the story, the reader begins to expect this, and thus learns immense amounts about the characters through their speech patterns and diction.

I wouldn't say that the story has any glaring weaknesses. Some small things occur for which explanations aren't expliciltly offered, however the narrator isn't stated to be infallible. It's possible that he simply has no reaction to these events, or cares not to speak on them.

Overall, I would most definitely recommend this work. It's a quick, enjoyable read.


Duncan McMonagle said...

God bless the New Yorker
for publishing a piece of fiction every week. It's one of the few general-interest magazines that does so.

Kenton Larsen said...

Absolutely. I was thinking of this today, when I was reading Stephen King's On Writing - the only reason King became a best-selling writer was by publishing his fiction in magazines.

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