For those who only read the first sentence or two of a review, here goes - Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, along with Donald Ray Pollock's Knockemstiff (actually, if you like that you'll almost certainly like this) is one of the best collections of new short fiction to hit the shelves in the past few years - go get it.
Tower's collection is taut, thoughtful, extremely emotionally mature and convincing, odd and very much new. I'm amazed that one of my fellow reviewers deemed the stories derivative (as are, according to said reviewer, the stories in the wonderful New Yorker). The roots of Tower's writing do indeed go deep (there are hints and echoes of many greats here), but in the final analysis the stories are his own. Though often concerned with outsiders and their struggles, the stories are varied and compelling in their themes and plots, and brilliantly realised in their language. Tower is a great and edgy new literary voice.
PS. Another reviewer derides the excellent story 'Retreat' for its apparently tired 'climax' where the protagonist shoots and kills a moose on a hunting trip (perhaps deeming it too redolent of Hemingway et al?) . . . I would disagree, however, on where the climax is reached, and would argue that it's with said protagonist's wilful, pride-fuelled, stubborn swallowing of the moose's seemingly infected meat. It's a killer of a story.