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“In the mountains, the world begins again and again”: ‘Pity the Beast’ with Robin McLean

Robin McLean
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.

About Robin:

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)

The Cold Millions by Jess Walter (HarperCollins)

Haints Stayby Colin Winnette (Two Dollar Radio)

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Lauren R. Korn holds an M.A. in poetry from the University of New Brunswick, where she was the recipient of the Tom Riesterer Memorial Prize and the Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize. A former bookseller and the former Director of the Montana Book Festival, she is now an Arts and Culture Producer at Montana Public Radio and the host of it’s literature-based radio program and podcast, ‘The Write Question.’
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