The Rock Eaters: Stories


Product Details

$16.00  $14.88
Penguin Books
Publish Date
5.0 X 7.6 X 0.9 inches | 0.45 pounds

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About the Author

Brenda Peynado's stories have won an O. Henry Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Chicago Tribune's Nelson Algren Literary Award, selection for The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy and The Best Small Fictions, a Dana Award, a Fulbright grant to the Dominican Republic, and other awards. Her fiction appears in The Georgia Review, The Sun (London), The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, The Threepenny Review, Prairie Schooner, and more than forty other journals. She received her MFA at Florida State University and her PhD at the University of Cincinnati. She currently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Central Florida. This will be her first collection.


Peynado probes the limits of reckoning with such dilemmas as otherness, loss, and love in her glorious debut, a collection of inventive and fabulist stories...These alluring stories make powerful use of their fantastical motifs, enhancing the realities of the characters' lives. The author's skillful storytelling soars.
--Publishers Weekly, *Starred Review*

A genre-bending sociopolitical commentary with prose that shines.
--The Washington Post

What a smart and intriguing writer I've just 'discovered'--though from the impressive list of credits on the title page, I can see that others have been luckier, sooner. Brenda Peynado's The Rock Eaters is adazzle with alluring stories, flights of fancy that don't just dissolve into cleverness or parse the world neatly into cliche or categories. The stories help us think through situations all around us in the real world in new, captivating ways. What I most admire is the moral imagination of these stories, never nudging, never obvious, but subtle and unsettling. Peynado is a writer willing to cross literary borders: magical realism, fable, parable, fiction, nonfiction--she erases those limiting storytelling parameters and her stories soar.
--Julia Alvarez, author of In the Time of the Butterflies and Afterlife

"A stunning debut collection comprised of provocative stories that are oddly healing and horizon-expanding. An exciting new voice."
--Jeff VanderMeer, New York Times bestselling author of Annihilation

This book is a giant. What staggering reach and ambition Brenda Peynado's stories have: here are aliens, tortured superhumans, angels, sufferings literalized as stones, ritualized drownings, enchanted sleeps, the hauntings of home, all rendered with the kind of power that sweeps us effortlessly from exhilaration to despair and back again. The Rock Eaters is the work of an imagination that brooks no limits, that claims, masterfully, all territories as its own. I'm in awe of this book. It's one of the most thrilling debuts I've read in years.
--Clare Beams, author of The Illness Lesson

I love Brenda Peynado's big, beautiful imagination and the way her stories open up whole universes of possibility in only a few vivid pages. She is a magical mindbender--in conversation with Karen Russell and Margaret Atwood--who helps us understand the troubling issues of our world through a speculative lens. The Rock Eaters will put a spell on you."
--Benjamin Percy, author of Suicide Woods, Thrill Me, The Dark Net, and Red Moon

This book. This beautiful, fierce, tender, aching, and glorious book. The Rock Eaters has the range, depth, art, and humanity that is short fiction at its peak. These are stories that demand you sit and breathe after finishing. From rocks that hold sorrow to hands and arms that stretch forever, Peynado's voice is singular. An extraordinary collection."
--Erika Swyler, bestselling author of Light from Other Stars and The Book of Speculation

The Rock Eaters is vicious and beautiful, full of characters who will refuse to leave you at peace. Both painfully realistic and mind-bendingly fantastical, these stories capture the sense of displacement that comes with recognizing who we really are. Read it now, and see for yourself.
--Annalee Newitz, author of The Future of Another Timeline and Four Lost Cities

The Rock Eaters is a book of wonders-- of aliens and floating children and sorrows as heavy as stones, yes. But more than that, Peynado is a mischievous trickster, an elegant conjurer, and an unflinching surgeon of the human heart as she speaks to us of longing, and rage, and loss, and wanting with freshness and fervor. A tremendously smart book full of art, and full of playfulness too.
--CJ Hauser, author of Family of Origin