Tue, Nov 02 | Collected Works Bookstore

Robin McLean, Pity the Beast

In conversation with Lesley Poling-Kempes. “Not since Faulkner have I read American prose so bristling with life and particularity.” -- J.M. Coetzee
Registration is Closed
Robin McLean, Pity the Beast

Date, Time & Location

Nov 02, 6:00 PM MDT
Collected Works Bookstore, 202 Galisteo St, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA

About the Event

If you plan to join us in-store, we will be taking COVID precautions - masks will be required for the duration of the program and seating will be spaced accordingly. We will be simultaneously live Zooming our events for those out of town or who would prefer it. You can register to watch it  here on Zoom.

Pre-order signed copies of Pity the Beast from CW. Book publishes November 2.

'I haven't read a book this dark and frank and sublimely written in a while. Maybe since Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men.' Alden Jones

Following in the footsteps of such chroniclers of American lunacy as Cormac McCarthy; Joy Williams; and Charles Portis; Robin McLean’s Pity the Beast is a mind-melting feminist Western that pins a tale of sexual violence and vengeance to a canvas stretching back to prehistory.

Millennia ago, Ginny's family ranch was all grass and rock and wild horses. A thousand years hence, it'll all be peacefully underwater. In the matter-of-fact here and now, though, it's a hotbed of lust and resentment, and about to turn ugly, because Ginny's just cheated on her husband Dan with the man who lives next door.

Out on these prairies, word travels fast: everyone seems to know everyone's business. They know what Ginny did, and they know Ginny isn't sorry. She might not be proud of what she's done, but she doesn't regret it either. To be honest, she enjoyed the hell out of it, and as far as Ginny is concerned, that should be the end of the story. Problem is, no one else seems able to let it go. The community can't bear to let a woman like Ginny off the hook. Not with an attitude like hers.

With detours through time; space; and myth; not to mention into the minds of a pack of philosophical mules Pity the Beast heralds the arrival of a major force in American letters. It is a novel that turns our assumptions about the West; masculinity; good and evil; and the very nature of storytelling onto their heads; with an eye to the cosmic as well as the comic. It urges us to write our stories anew—if we want to avoid becoming beasts ourselves.

About the Author

Robin McLean worked as lawyer and then a potter for fifteen years in the woods of Alaska before receiving her MFA at UMass Amherst. 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.