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The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw (Hardcover)

The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw (Hardcover)

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Fiction - Horror - Fantasy - Dark Fantasy

Published: 5/2/2023

“Khaw’s poetic prose and stylish approach to gore make it a blood-soaked, unforgettable gem.” ―The New York Times

From Cassandra Khaw, USA Today bestselling author of Nothing But Blackened Teeth, comes The Salt Grows Heavy, a razor-sharp and bewitching fairy tale of discovering the darkness in the world, and the darkness within oneself.

A Best Horror Book of 2023 (The New York Times, Library Journal) • An Best Book of 2023 (NPR) • A Bram Stoker Award Nominee! • An Indie Next Pick

You may think you know how the fairy tale goes: a mermaid comes to shore and weds the prince. But what the fables forget is that mermaids have teeth. And now, her daughters have devoured the kingdom and burned it to ashes.

On the run, the mermaid is joined by a mysterious plague doctor with a darkness of their own. Deep in the eerie, snow-crusted forest, the pair stumble upon a village of ageless children who thirst for blood, and the three “saints” who control them.

The mermaid and her doctor must embrace the cruelest parts of their true nature if they hope to survive.

“This brilliant novella is not to be missed.” ―Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

“With this brilliantly constructed tale...Khaw cements their status as a must-read author.” ―Library Journal, STARRED review

Also by Cassandra Khaw:
Nothing But Blackened Teeth
A Song for Quiet
Hammers on Bone
The Dead Take the A Train (co-written with Richard Kadrey)


CASSANDRA KHAW is the USA Today bestselling author of Nothing But Blackened Teeth and the Bram Stoker Award-winner, Breakable Things. Other notable works of theirs are The Salt Grows Heavy and British Fantasy Award and Locus Award finalist, Hammers on Bone. Khaw's work can be found in places like The Magazine of Fantasy & Science FictionYear's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Khaw is also the co-author of The Dead Take the A Train, co-written with bestselling author Richard Kadrey.

A Best Horror Book of 2023 (The New York Times, Library Journal) - An Best Book of 2023 (NPR) - A Bram Stoker Award Nominee! - An Indie Next Pick

"Khaw's poetic prose and stylish approach to gore make it a blood-soaked, unforgettable gem." -- The New York Times

"Devastatingly effective...a folklore-infused world that feels wholly unique. Expertly blending a gothic atmosphere with elements of splatterpunk, this brilliant novella is not to be missed." -- Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

"With this brilliantly constructed tale that consciously takes on a well-known story and violently breaks it open to reveal a heartfelt core, Khaw cements their status as a must-read author." -- Library Journal, STARRED review

"A feverishly gory, grotesquely beautiful and baroque fairy-tale-meets-love-sonnet. Cassandra Khaw's imagination is limitless." -- Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World and A Head Full of Ghosts

" The Salt Grows Heavy will hit you in your heart and in your gut at the same time, while never losing its grip on the gorgeous prose that makes Khaw's work so spellbinding. It's another riveting success from one of horror's finest storytellers." -- Paste Magazine

"Cassandra Khaw's writing is never more lyrical than when they're describing the knife in your heart. The bones of a fairy tale sunk deep in a charnel house of descriptive prose, an elegant confection with a blood-soaked core. I devoured it in one sitting." -- T. Kingfisher, multi-award winning author of What Moves the Dead and Nettle & Bone

"[B]eautiful in its darkness; much like the mermaids of lore -- before they were transformed into manatee-sweet, soft-haired sirens -- it has teeth. Readers in the mood to savor a silver-tongued little nightmare will sink happily into its depths." -- NPR

"Khaw has cemented their status as horror royalty, once and for all, with The Salt Grows Heavy....a grotesquely perfect feast." -- Locus

"A gorgeous and gory horror fantasy novella that thrums with the pull of the deep." -- Shelf Awareness, STARRED review

"Grotesque, devastating, and oddly heartening, Khaw's voice stands out in a world mired by uncertainty and all-too-human monsters." --

"A beautifully gory book.... The Salt Grows Heavy will delight and horrify you." -- Chicago Review of Books

"Short but action-packed, unctuous, and deliciously creepy, a mash-up of Angela Carter's dark fairytale retellings and the poetic love story core of This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal el-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (2019)." -- Booklist

"A grim, fantastical story... The Salt Grows Heavy leaves readers indescribably hungry, ready to beg for more." -- Rue Morgue Magazine

"Khaw uses poetically beautiful words to tear open your chest and gnaw on your ribs in this needle-sharp novella." -- Kaaron Warren, author of Slights and The Grief Hole

"Cassandra Khaw's writing is immaculate, with every word carefully chosen for maximum impact. The Salt Grows Heavy is a truly mesmerizing story and one of the finest works of horror and dark fantasy I have ever read, dripping with a gruesome and disquieting passion." -- Grimdark Magazine

"Khaw's writing is masterful, and their horror is gruesome and gleeful, rendered in prose so grisly, you have to pick it out from between your teeth." -- Gizmodo

"Cassandra Khaw's steely prose is matched only by the inventiveness of their imagination. The Salt Grows Heavy demonstrates their continuing mastery of the novella form with a story Angela Carter would be jealous to have written." -- John Langan, author of Corpsemouth and Other Autobiographies

"A brutal and deadly romp whose language is as sharp and glittery as a scalpel made of ice. Strange and compelling, The Salt Grows Heavy is unlike anything else out there, a dark spell with needle-like teeth." -- Brian Evenson, author of The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell and Song for the Unraveling of the World

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