The Unsettling
2006

"This book, which is maybe the best short story collection I’ve ever read, messed up my life. For days I wandered around thinking about the impossible stories and the everyday heartbreak that this collection brings, and everything I looked at seemed utterly and gorgeously rearranged by Peter Rock. Now it’s your turn."
–Daniel Handler, author of the Lemony Snicket series

"These thirteen stories are moving, funny, haunting and – what's best – uncanny in their power to linger, filled with memorable characters and vivid events that will shadow you long after you think you've finished the book. Peter Rock is one of the most talented writers around, and The Unsettling is an experience you don't want to miss."
– Dan Chaon, author of You Remind Me of Me and Among the Missing

A stunning, Poe-esque collection of short fiction about outsiders, lost dogs, romance, and life’s surprising mysteries.

Populated by strangers, ghosts, and other shadowy figures, the thirteen stories in The Unsettling attend to those startling moments when what we have understood as familiar is suddenly revealed as mysterious and foreign.

A lonely man saving library books from an outbreak of mold listens to a coworker’s tale about a blind woman and imbues it with his own sense of romance; a woman drives a Gold Firebird through the desert with a television playing "Rockford Files" reruns on the passenger seat; and a girl returns to her childhood home to spy on its new inhabitants, not realizing they are aware of her surveillance.

Told through Rock’s imaginative and wholly original voice, these are haunted tales about fascination, transformation, and the relationship between the two.

Sample stories