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The Rock Eaters  By  cover art

The Rock Eaters

By: Brenda Peynado
Narrated by: Frankie Corzo,Ines del Castillo,Sunil Malhotra,Alejandra Reynoso,Jane Santos
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Publisher's Summary

An NPR Best Book of 2021

NYPL 10 Best Books for Adults, 2021

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.

©2021 Brenda Peynado (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

“Brenda Peynado’s The Rock Eaters only came out in 2021, but listening to it, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s been around long enough to be a modern magical realist classic…If you’re short on time, the collection’s title story, ‘The Rock Eaters,’ is a particularly sharp example of this, but between Peynado skill with a pen and the audiobook’s cast of talented and engagingly varied voices, you know I’m going to demand that you let the entire book wash over you. Let it wash over you!” Paste

"Each of Peynado's storis is finely formed as a diamond...Wily but throbbing with heart, they dart into unexpected crevices of human experience...They speak to our unkempt, scarred world, even as they reimagine it notjust once, but repeatedly." The San Francisco Chronicle

"Genre-bending brilliance...Peynado's harnessing of the diasporic imagination establishes her as a true magician of the marvelous real." The Boston Globe 

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Well written and well narrated

This is very different from what I’m used to reading but it was interesting. It’s very Black Mirror meets Gabriel Garcia Marquez, with well written magical realism and a lot of social commentary - some of which was more on the nose than others. Very depressing but beautifully written short stories.

1 person found this helpful