The Salt Grows Heavy

Macmillan Audio. May 2023. 2:54 hrs. ISBN 9781250900876. $10.99. HORROR
It’s a familiar tale—the story of a young mermaid who yearns for life on land and trades her voice for the love of a prince. But many forget that mermaids are dangerous, with sharp teeth that are ready to devour anything in their path. Khaw (Breakable Things) tells of a voiceless mermaid whose daughters have consumed the entire kingdom, leaving little more than a wasteland. Joined by a mysterious plague doctor, the mermaid flees into the frozen forest, only to discover a village of mutilated, bloodthirsty children. The children are controlled by three ghastly “saints,” surgeons who toy with immortality and resurrection in unimaginably cruel ways. Though this grotesque, torture-filled tale of a mermaid who has seen the worst of humanity is captivating, some listeners may find Khaw’s intricate language frustratingly impenetrable. Even so, narrator Susan Dalian viscerally conveys the gruesome body horror while deftly capturing the lush imagery.
VERDICT A quick listen that should appeal to fans of Khaw’s Nothing but Blackened Teeth or those looking for a horrific take on the ever-popular The Little Mermaid.
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