The Rock Eaters: Book summary and reviews of The Rock Eaters by Brenda Peynado

The Rock Eaters

by Brenda Peynado

The Rock Eaters by Brenda Peynado X
The Rock Eaters by Brenda Peynado
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Book Summary

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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Sixteen genre-bending stories as substantial as they are superbly crafted...A sparkling, strange, and enthralling debut from a vivid new voice in contemporary fiction." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[G]lorious...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." - Washington Post

"What a smart and intriguing writer...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...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

This information about The Rock Eaters shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Brenda Peynado

Brenda Peynado is a recovering computer security specialist who loves dog training, spooky beaches, tangerines, books, her little white terrier, and her author husband, Micah Dean Hicks. Her stories have appeared in over forty magazines and 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. She currently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Central Florida. The Rock Eaters is her first book.

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