“In the mountains, the world begins again and again”: ‘Pity the Beast’ with Robin McLean
This week Lauren chats with fiction writer Robin McLean, author of Pity the Beast (And Other Stories Publishing), a contemporary, eco-feminist Western in which a woman escapes to the northern Rocky Mountains after a violent encounter with a number of people close to her, including her husband and her half-sister. With leanings into and outside of the contemporary American West, into and outside of morality and goodness, this novel is a deep dive into myth, landscape, and freedom.
Robin McLean worked as lawyer and then a potter in the woods of Alaska before turning to writing. Her story collection Reptile House won the 2013 BOA Editions Fiction Prize and was twice a finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Short Story Prize. She now lives and teaches in the high plains desert of central Nevada at Ike's Canyon Ranch Writer’s Retreat which she co-founded.
Her debut novel Pity the Beast was published November 2, 2021, from And Other Stories. Her second story collection is forthcoming from And Other Stories, too.
Robin McLean recommends:
The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders (Riverhead Books)
Bone Horses by Lesley Poling-Kempes (La Alameda Press)
Whiskey When We’re Dry by John Larison (Penguin Random House)
The novels of Cynan Jones (Coffee House Press)
Lauren Korn recommends:
How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang (Riverhead Books)
The Trace by Forrest Gander (New Directions)
Outlawed by Anna North (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Haints Stay by Colin Winnette (Two Dollar Radio)