Questions of how violence can be incited and where blame is placed loom large in Pity The Beast, the debut novel by American author Robin McLean. Stories themselves are weaponised in this tale, a form of power to ensnare others. Set in modern-day rural America, there are ruminations on religion – present in the story of Ella, one of the main characters and the sister of Ginny, villain of the locale – smalltown vigilantism, and historical contrasts achieved through time travel.
With the modern world such an unholy mess, and understood as such by we the readers, McLean catapults us back to the Wild West – whereupon we inhabit a very different environment, yet with the same level of brutality and injustice. As Old Swede, the pre-modern character whose trail Pity The Beast follows, along with Ella, traverse the “out of doors” (their universe), they construct stories that might either help or destroy those around them: the ecosystem is flawed, so the characters are flawed.
McLean has created a vast, complicated structure that changes form: Pity The Beast has the feel of science fiction, using both an epistolary narrative and hinting at a morality tale surrounding the current climate emergency.
Pity The Beast, Robin McLean (And Other Stories)
Price: £14.99/£6.99 Ebook. Info: here
words BILLIE INGRAM SOFOKLEOUS
Events are Back!
If you’re running or promoting events in Wales, list them here for FREE.