“Robin McLean’s Reptile House introduces us to a debut author of audacious originality." -- Peter Connors, BOA Editions.

OLDER FISH OBITS

ALTER EGO ? WHO IS THAT FACELESS ONE?

THE DRUM /​ THE MUSE /​ THE CRIMINAL

LOOSE IN BOSTON

GRUB GONE DRAG /​ COLUM MCCANN

REPTILE HOUSE IN PLYMOUTH

I LOVE BURLINGTON

REPTILE HOUSE MEETS PARIS REVIEW

BACK ON THE TRAIL -- NYC

BRIDGE EIGHT

WHITE BRAS ONLY

THANKS MOUNT HOLYOKE (AGAIN)

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #18: LAST STOP: BIG CARBON FOOTPRINT

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #17.8: LONG LONG LONG LONG ROAD

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #17.7: SERENDIPITY in JAYHAWK COUNTRY

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #17.5: NEXT EXIT -- KANSAS

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #17: BEARTOOTH, WYOMING and OUT OF MIND

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #16.6: MONTANA FOR A HAT

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #16.5: LOST HORSE in SANDPOINT, IDAHO

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #16.4: A GOOD CAMPGROUND IS HARD TO FIND

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #16.3: REPTILE HOUSE KICKS HARPER LEE'S BUTT

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #16.2: PIRATES

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #16.1: DETOUR #1 -- DECATUR ISLAND, WA.

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #16: SOUTHWARD

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #15.9: CHICK RESCUE -- PALMER, ALASKA

REPTILE HOUSE MAKES THE FRONT PAGE

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #15.7: DENALI FOR REAL THIS TIME

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #15.6: HOT WATER AND WIDE AWAKE

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #15.5: THANK YOU FAA

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #15.4: NORTH POLE

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #15.3: GLORIOUS DENALI

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #15.2: FAIRBANKS

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #15.1: ANCHORAGE

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #15: SHORT CUT: ALASKA

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #14..9999: CHIHULY and SPACE NEEDLES

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #14..92: ON THE DECKS OF SHIPS (REDUX)

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #14.9.5: ON THE DECKS OF SHIPS

MARY LYON WOULD BE PROUD

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #14.5.9.1: POETS AND SPACE NEEDLES

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #14.5.9: SOLITARY PEAK

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #14.5: SEATTLE BY WAY OF MT. HOOD

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #14.2: LATE NIGHT LIBRARY: THANKS FOR THE INTERVIEW

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #14.1: INLAND AND NORTH

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #14: AVENUE OF THE GIANTS

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #13. 9: LIGHT

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #13. 8: TO THE GREAT NORTHWEST

NEW HAMPSHIRE PUBLIC RADIO! THANK YOU PETER BIELLO!

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #13. 5: SAN FRANCISCO and NORTH

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #13.1: DONKEY

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #13: CALIFORNIA CAN WAIT

BOOK REVIEW: “Unnatural, unprecedented, as far as we know.”

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.9.6: SUMMITS AND CARAVANS

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.9.5: NAVADA HWY 50: THE LONELIEST ROAD

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.9: THE NEXT GENERATION TAKES THE WHEEL

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.8: GRAND MESA = BUGS

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.7: CAMPING #1

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.6: REPTILE HOUSE GOES TO 12,000 FEET

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.5: RH ROAD TEAM DOUBLES

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.4: 10 THINGS TO DO IN BOULDER WITH A COSMONAUT

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.4: 10 THINGS TO DO IN BOULDER WITH A COSMONAUT

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.3: MOOSE WELCOMES REPTILE HOUSE TO BOULDER

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.2: SANTA FE TRAIL

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12.1: ONWARD NORTH

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #12: BREAKDOWN

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11.9: PASSENGER #1

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11.8.9: GRATITUDE BREAK

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11.8: SUN, RAIN, EL PASO

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11.7: THE ALAMO

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11.6.5: TEXAS: BUDA

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11.6: TEXAS: CHISHOLM TRAIL #2

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11.5: TEXAS: CHISHOLM TRAIL #1

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11.4: TEXAS MODERN

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11.3: WILD DETECTIVES

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11.2: MHC DALLAS

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11.1: TEXAS: THE GRASSY KNOLL

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #11: TEXAS /​ PART I

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #10.5: TRIP MAP #1

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #10: IOWA CITY /​ BOOK OASIS

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #9.5: BACK EAST (ALMOST)

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #9: SKYLIGHT /​ GET A DAMN TICKET

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #8.3: DERAILMENT & RERAILMENT: CANINE AGILITY

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #8: SIRENLAND REUNION

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #7.999: REPTILE HOUSE TAKES TO THE AIR

TOUR BLOG POST 7.5: MHC HARTFORD

TWO NEW INTERVIEWS: Thanks BOA

SIDEWINDER BLOG POST #7: HARVARD BOOK STORE

CUT OFF THE COVER AND READ IT: an INTERVIEW

TOUR BLOG POST #6: THE EPICENTER

SIDEWINDER TOUR BLOG POST #5 /​ MYSTIC

TOUR BLOG POST #4 /​ SOUTH HADLEY WITH JIM SHEPARD

TOUR BLOG POST #3 /​ AMHERST LAUNCH

TOUR BLOG POST #2 /​ BOSTON

TOUR BLOG POST #1 /​MINNEAPOLIS

THIS WINTER IS MAKING ME CRANKY

NEWS FLASH: REPTILE HOUSE HAS ARRIVED





FISH OBITUARIES:an anti-bloggers's blog

REPTILE HOUSE meets PARIS REVIEW

December 11, 2015

One Dreams about getting on one of those Best of the Year Lists in the Paris Review

Some dreams come true...

Dec. 11, 2015 --I once sat on a loveseat for several nights in a row, watching a multipart PBS documentary on emotions. What I recall most vividly from this documentary is an experiment conducted on Jason, a young man with Asperger’s syndrome. As he watched a movie, Jason wore a pair of special glasses that allowed researchers to see exactly what he was looking at on the screen. In this way, they could see how Jason processed visual data, and how he created a kind of hierarchy of significance. One scene featured a dramatic and emotional encounter in the foreground—a man and woman, I think, embracing, kissing, whispering endearments—but Jason, as it turns out, was watching the very interesting chandelier in the background. I don’t mean to hard-heartedly ignore or make light of what the experiment reveals about Asperger’s syndrome, but it strikes me that there is an apt analogy here to fiction. This is what good writers do—come at drama indirectly, reverse foreground and background, disrupt conventional priorities, focus on and draw our attention to the “wrong” data. I was reminded of the chandelier when reading the remarkable stories in Robin McLean’s collection, Reptile House . There is no shortage of mayhem and menace in these stories, but they achieve a thrilling and disorienting power by refusing to pay commensurate attention to the life-and-death troubles of people. McLean does not shrink the world down to interpersonal conflict, but instead opens it up to achieve a cosmic perspective that somehow feels both dispassionate and compassionate (Chekhov’s trick). This opening up is wild, surprising, and not a little frightening. I suppose you could call these stories dark, but in their dazzling perspective I find them full of vitality and wonder. Chris Bachelder The Throwback Special, U.S.! and Abbott Awaits.)

Hello Chris Bachelder! Gratitude till the end of Time.





Comments

  1. January 4, 2016 11:24 AM EST
    This so rocks. I mean, it's really exciting to know that the Paris Review is still relevant and genuinely up to date. I'd been worried.
    - rob