The Unsettling

Peter Rock, Author . MacAdam/Cage $21 (329p) ISBN 978-1-59692-171-9

Novelist Rock (The Ambidextrist ) gathers 13 odd, haunting tales in a patchwork collection that borrows elements from genre fiction (the ghost; the stalker; the hitchhiker) while paying homage to literary lights (to Chekhov explicitly; to Poe and, one suspects, Murukami). In Rock's bleak world, the isolated and maladjusted seek connections: in "Blooms," a young man hired to remove mold from damp library books learns how his elder coworker used to sit naked in his blind neighbor's bedroom and read to her; in "The Silent Men," a waitress receives late-night phone calls from a stranger who got her number from her "Lost Dogs" poster; in "The Sharpest Knife," a middle-aged man sneaks into the bedroom of his eight-year-old neighbor to write cryptic messages in her school notebook. "Lights" is a rather bloodless rewrite of the Chekhov story of the same name, in which a loquacious older man tells a bored youth and a stranger the story of his entanglement with a desperate woman; "Thrill" tells of a young married couple's surprising response to a youthful, female peeping Tom. Mysterious, inventive, but often pallid and unrewarding, these stories are strange—but perhaps not quite strange enough. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/30/2006
Release date: 03/01/2006
Open Ebook - 978-1-59692-880-0
Paperback - 329 pages - 978-1-59692-214-3
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-1-940436-30-2
Open Ebook - 264 pages - 978-1-61902-886-9
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