Conundrum Press author Robert Garner McBrearty recently received two glowing reviews for his debut novel, The Western Lonesome Society (published Sept. 2015). High Country News, a nonprofit publication based in Paonia, Colorado, highlighted McBrearty’s witty and fabulously quirky writing style. Well-known literary magazine The Pleiades Book Review also featured McBrearty’s novel.
In the High Country News, reviewer Barbara Richter refers to McBrearty’s novel as an absurdist Western thriller that “is a trip through the human subconscious, alternating between three increasingly peculiar storylines” that is “perhaps the only one of its kind.” As Richter so eloquently puts it, “The Western Lonesome Society includes enough intrigue to fill a book twice its size.” Written as a series of vignettes, Richter notes that “in less capable hands, the literary device known as mise en abyme . . . can quickly become incomprehensible, but McBrearty cut his teeth on crafting short stories for the North American Review and StoryQuarterly, among other publications.”
With a well-honed technique, Richter assures readers that McBrearty’s “taut narratives are composed with precision and spare imagery.” She notes that, “…The Western Lonesome Society is a fascinating hallucinatory trip down memory lane.” Richter’s review also focuses on the thought-provoking quality of the novel.
In Pleiades, reviewer Jack Smith connects McBrearty’s writing in The Western Lonesome Society to his previously published works, deeming his writing “riotously funny at times, while at other times more restrained as he blends humor with pathos.” Smith goes on to describe the experience of reading The Western Lonesome Society: “We read this novel piece by piece, the pieces not welded together, and we construct our own overall narrative. We can return and return to a novel like this, studying and savoring the connections we see on our own.” With Smith determining the novel as a comic masterpiece, we can expect a structurally inventive, thought provoking, hearty laugh from McBrearty.
Having just released his debut novel, McBrearty is also the author of numerous short stories and three story collections. The Western Lonesome Society is an over-the-top Western in which the main character, Jim O’Brien, writes the quixotic saga of his ancestors who grew up with a tribe of Comanches. As his grip on reality loosens, O’Brien weaves into the tale modern day stalkers, drug dealers, secret agents, strippers, a mad linguist, an imaginary therapist, Ernest Hemingway, and an RV trip through the soul of the West. Having been displaced, each of the characters must embark on the great American quest for a place to truly call home.
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Article written by Sheena Feiler, an editorial contributor with Conundrum Press. Golden, Colorado-based Conundrum Press publishes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, focusing primarily on authors who live in the Rocky Mountain region. We are committed to their success.