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Penguin Books

The Rock Eaters: Stories

The Rock Eaters: Stories

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A story collection, in the vein of Carmen Maria Machado, Kelly Link, and Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, spanning worlds and dimensions, using strange and speculative elements to tackle issues ranging from class differences to immigration to first-generation experiences to xenophobia

What does it mean to be other? What does it mean to love in a world determined to keep us apart?
These questions murmur in the heart of each of Brenda Peynado's strange and singular stories. Threaded with magic, transcending time and place, these stories explore what it means to cross borders and break down walls, personally and politically. In one story, suburban families perform oblations to cattlelike angels who live on their roofs, believing that their "thoughts and prayers" will protect them from the world's violence. In another, inhabitants of an unnamed dictatorship slowly lose their own agency as pieces of their bodies go missing and, with them, the essential rights that those appendages serve. "The Great Escape" tells of an old woman who hides away in her apartment, reliving the past among beautiful objects she's hoarded, refusing all visitors, until she disappears completely. In the title story, children begin to levitate, flying away from their parents and their home country, leading them to eat rocks in order to stay grounded.

With elements of science fiction and fantasy, fabulism and magical realism, Brenda Peynado uses her stories to reflect our flawed world, and the incredible, terrifying, and marvelous nature of humanity.

Author: Brenda Peynado
Publisher: Penguin Books
Published: 05/11/2021
Pages: 288
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 0.45lbs
Size: 7.60h x 5.00w x 0.90d
ISBN: 9780143135623

Review Citation(s):
Publishers Weekly 03/01/2021
Kirkus Reviews 04/01/2021

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.

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