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Brenda Peynado

Brenda Peynado’s stories have won an O. Henry Prize, the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award, a Dana Award, a Fulbright Grant to the Dominican Republic, a Vermont Studio Center Residency, and other prizes. Her work appears in The Georgia Review, The Kenyon Review Online, Pleiades, The Threepenny Review, Black Warrior Review, and other journals. She received her MFA at Florida State University and her PhD at the University of Cincinnati. She teaches at the MFA program at the University of Central Florida. She is currently writing a novel about a girl who can see all possible futures trying to save her mother, a guerrilla fighter in the 1965 civil war in the Dominican Republic.

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The Rock Eaters: Strongest story collection I’ve read in some time

The Rock Eaters by Brenda Peynado

It has been quite a while since I’ve read a collection of short stories that so completely and consistently won me over. I’m typically satisfied if roughly half the stories in a collection work for me and thrilled if three-quarters do. But Brenda Peynado hit it out of the ballpark with The Rock Eaters, with stories that range almost entirely from good (a few) to excellent (most) to wonderfully, lingeringly strange and powerful (many). It’s easily the best story collection I’ve read in years, a must-read mix of fantasy, science fiction, magical realism, fabulist fiction, horror, and even a realistic story in there, with all the inherent blurring of genre lines those arbitrary categories convey. Think of a George Saunders or Kelly Link type of story, though Peynado is absolutely her own writer; there is nothing derivative here.

The book’s strengths are both plenti... Read More