Book by ROBIN MCLEAN
Robin McLean’s story collection, Reptile House, opens at an end—when a freeze of apocalyptic proportions devastates the town of Easter, (“Cold Snap”)—and ends at a beginning—when an unhappy man’s wife gives birth to another baby (the title story). This sort of upset runs rampant throughout McLean’s debut work. McLean’s surreal tales about ordinary characters deliver emotional truth in poetic language. Concrete and surreal, they spill beyond the conventional short story forms.
A book for lovers of language, Reptile House won the 2015 BOA Short Story Fiction Prize, sponsored by BOA Editions, Ltd., a publishing house committed strictly to poetry, until 2007 when it launched its American Reader Series with the goal of publishing fiction “more concerned with artfulness of writing than the twists and turns of plot.” Indeed, the nine short stories that form Reptile House seem to spring from language in an intuitive way.