Pity the Beast
Following in the footsteps of such chroniclers of American absurdity 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, sideways into legend, and off into a lonesome future.
A brutalised woman is left for dead. But dead is the one thing she isn’t. With a stolen horse and rifle, she escapes into the mountains, and a small posse of her tormentors has to gear up and give chase — whether to beg forgiveness or shut her up for good, nobody knows.
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 new voice 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.
'Not since Faulkner have I read American prose so bristling with life and particularity.' — J. M. Coetzee
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