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Caren Beilin is the author most recently of a nonfiction book, Blackfishing the IUD (Wolfman Books, 2019), and a memoir, Spain (Rescue Press, 2018). She teaches at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and lives close by, in Vermont.

pages: 176

format: paperback original

isbn: 978-1-948980-07-4

publication date: April 5, 2022

Revenge of the Scapegoat

Caren Beilin

Animated with the moxie and wit of Acker and Tillman, Caren Beilin is one of the most bizarre and fearless writers of her generation.” —Catherine Lacey

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One day Iris, an adjunct at a city arts college, receives a terrible package: recently unearthed letters that her father wrote to her in her teens, in which he blames her for their family’s crises. Driven by the raw fact of receiving these devastating letters not once but twice in a lifetime, and in a panic of chronic pain brought on by rheumatoid arthritis, Iris escapes to the countryside—or some absurdist version of it. Nazi cows, Picassos used as tampons, and a pair of arthritic feet that speak in the voices of Flaubert’s Bouvard and Pécuchet are standard fare in this beguiling novel of odd characters, surprising circumstances, and intuitive leaps, all brought together in profoundly serious ways.


Read a conversation at Art in America between Caren Beilin and the Berlin-based artist collective Feminist Health Care Research Group, on “building a bridge between art and health.”


Revenge of the Scapegoat made me bounce-laugh so hard my cheeks and belly kept jiggling while reading the pains. The pains that are so impossible and absurd that Caren Beilin writes them as full characters with their own interior agency. I’d never thought of our pains having their own lives, but I see it now, and hopefully I’ll be able to live with my various physical and emotional pains in a better way. Thank you, Caren.”—Steven Dunn

Revenge of the Scapegoat flares from voided nipples and fooled feet, a blameful explosion of the novel, all those families of sentences, their normative violence and hurt metaphors, their Freud and Flaubertgone kablooey, thank god! I have been desperate for a book so hotly pink-gold with righteous emasculation, with the comeuppance of the beat poets, a book of such loudly jointed parts. Caren Beilin has written the scapegoat’s anti-anthem. The trick is never stand for it. Lip-sync while fleeing fast. Lie flat in a field and feel your heart effulge. —Joanna Ruocco

“Animated with the moxie and wit of Acker and Tillman, Caren Beilin is one of the most bizarre and fearless writers of her generation. Revenge of the Scapegoat is a surreal take on the tendency people have to damage those we claim to love and the way parental cruelty renders the world unrecognizable.” —Catherine Lacey

Previous praise for Caren Beilin:

“Caren Beilin’s Spain is like a Hostel-ization of Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station. Beilin’s protagonist isn’t in Spain on a Fulbright. Rather, she’s paying her own way at a dubious artist residency with the proceeds of a defunct relationship with an older, wealthy man. Spain is a fantastic, poetic and realistic account of travel in a post-travel world.” —Chris Kraus

“Dissatisfied with the non-answers offered by medicine, Beilin seeks to understand the harm done by the IUD through philosophy, literature, and daily life. By writing the IUD through Deleuze and Guattari, bookselling, and birdwatching, she identifies it as a problem that reaches far beyond ‘women’s health’ into society at large.” —Amy Berkowitz

cover art:

Female Artist, 1910
oil on canvas, 101 x 76 cm

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1880-1938) was a German Expressionist printmaker and painter.