Robin McLean, past winner of the BOA Short Fiction Prize for her collection Reptile House, also won The Carolina Quarterly's "End is Nigh" contest for "Cold Snap," one of the stories in the new collection. In an insightful interview with Aisha Anwar, the author discusses the winning piece: "The story is about isolation," says McLean, "both physical and emotional." The story follows protagonist Lilibeth, who endures an "end-of-the-world" winter storm while managing the small problems of everyday life, and working toward the goal of self-improvement. "Isn’t this how things are?," says McLean. "The world is melting. We are bombing strangers with drones while others strap bombs to their bodies to bomb us. Ebola is raging in Africa, jumping oceans. All the while we are getting are cars fixed, trying to lose weight, or taking pottery classes. I wonder if the weirder and more frightening the world gets, the more we turn to the small hopeful things to keep us going. Our kids, our football teams, reading a story or poem. Some of the scariness penetrates no matter how many barriers we erect. Lilibeth’s attempts at self-improvement, given the backdrop of the end of the world, are kind of silly, I guess; but maybe they are also a form of bravery, hope that life will find a way past the end of the world. Divorce and that type of intimate rejection is definitely a private form of the end of the world." Click here to read the full interview: "the backdrop of the end of the world." Reptile House is available now, only at the BOA Bookstore until its May publication date. Get your copy early! April is National Poetry Month! Now through April 30, get FREE SHIPPING on any BOA Bookstore order(s)! Because we love poetry, and we love you.
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