Breakable Things

Undertow. Nov. 2022. 250p. ISBN 9781988964379. pap. $17.99. HORROR
With their collection of 23 stories, previously published across the genre fiction landscape and one original to this volume, Khaw (Nothing but Blackened Teeth) presents a book that is a terrifying joy to read. Many of the entries invoke fairy tales and/or mythologies from all over the world. They are lyrical, brutal, and intensely unsettling and mostly center women—quite often as the monsters. While not long, the stories are immersive, with lush and detailed settings, intriguing characters, and beguiling and beautiful lines. The original tale, “How Selkies Are Made,” and “And in Our Daughters, We Find a Voice” are two water-infused, stellar examples, but every story will dig into the reader, threatening to never let go, especially because each ends perfectly.
VERDICT Khaw’s critical acclaim and popularity are skyrocketing, and this collection showcases exactly why. It allows readers a chance to swim around in their unique brand of intensely unsettling tales, submerging themselves in a larger pool of their beautiful but horrific waters. For fans of the dark speculative stories by Angela Slatter, Nadia Bulkin, and Samanta Schweblin.
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