Robin McLean

Get ’em Young, Treat ’em Tough, Tell ’em Nothing

From the author of the acclaimed Pity the Best, a collection of new stories plumbing the depths of American laughter and evil.

Dark, profane and funny, yet ultimately humane, these ten stories are the latest and best of Robin McLean’s reports from the eternal battlefront that is the contemporary United States. Each is a snapshot of the political, racial and sexual undercurrents roiling contemporary life; each finds a way into the nerves and blood beneath questions of power, trauma and oppression. Taken together, these stories march under the banners of Love and War, though the men and women in them aren’t fighting a tangible enemy, but rather their own fear of slipping further through the cracks of their society.

Get ’em Young, Treat ’em Tough, Tell ’em Nothing marries the sardonic moral and political explorations of a Flannery O’Connor to the surreal wit of a Denis Johnson. It is a brazen State of the Union for a nation on the edge.

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Paperback: £11.99
Ebook: £10.99

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If you subscribe to And Other Stories by 10th April 2022, you will receive your limited edition copy of Get ’em Young, Treat ’em Tough, Tell ’em Nothing – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – in July 2022, before its official publication, as well as up to five other specially selected And Other Stories titles per year. Find out more about our subscriptions

  • Find out more about the Robin McLean on her website.
Print status: Pre-order
Author: Robin McLean
Original language: English
Publication date: 18 October 2022
ISBN: 9781913505530
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505547
Availability: World English


John Larison

‘No writer casts a sharper light on the feral edges of the human condition than Robin McLean.’

Brian Evenson

‘Deeply engaged with the rural, with people on their way off the grid, Robin McLean's fiction is at once fantastical and intensely observed. These are stories about human frailty and darkness, shot through with small moments of glory.’

Kyle Beachy

‘Where so many American writers balk at genuine human darkness, Robin McLean steps inside with a poet’s eye and an ill-used gavel she swiped from the decaying desk of some corrupt, abusive judge. The results are gripping, chilling, and far too realistic for the term. These ten modern parables lay bare our species’ manifold predicaments here in the dimming light of imagined futures. An unforgettable book.’

Dani Shapiro

‘Robin McLean writes with a kind of tender violence, her sentences aimed like fire hoses at a burning world. I loved this collection, and its cast of extraordinary characters will haunt my dreams.’

Christian Kiefer

‘Not since Denis Johnson’s Jesus’ Son have I read a book of stories that so resonated in my soul. McLean’s prose sings with a fierceness that is ornate and sparse, spiritual and secular, peaceful and violent. These are stories that remind of Annie Proulx, Joy Williams, and Flannery O’Connor: surprising in the fundamental weirdness of mundane life pressed inextricably into the borderlands. The best collection of stories I have read in years.’

Joanna Kavenna 

‘I loved these brilliant, atmospheric and original stories - Robin McLean is such an exciting writer, and this is her best so far.’

Chris Bachelder

‘These stories, they churn and turn with ferocious pace and a brute subject-verb force. McLean is a writer of pure conviction, unafraid of risk, unconcerned with convention, objective but deeply humane, alive to wonder and strangeness. This collection, like her first, is beautiful and harrowing. I’ll say it again and again: Nobody writes like Robin McLean.’

Jim Shepard

‘Robin McLean has always excelled in narrators who communicate their own self-sufficiency even as they inadvertently reveal the extent to which they’re actually barely holding it together. They live in places where a bed frame and box spring are just a dream. They remind us that they’re still evolving . . . And yet somehow in the face of all of that, her protagonists summon lift, and generate that tenderness necessary to continue. The results are fictions that unite the personal and the political in ways that we need now more than ever.’

Josie Smith, Greenlight Bookstore

‘Get Em Young is a series of dispatches straight from the trenches of modern survival, where no one secures the life they were promised yet they fight, flail, and flounder on all the same. Fusing severe wit and our crudest desires into the gritty, tender heart of human tenacity, McLean writes about enduring hope and disillusionment like no one else.’