The Salt Grows Heavy

English language

Published Nov. 18, 2023 by Doherty Associates, LLC, Tom.

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4 stars (2 reviews)

After murdering her husband and burning his kingdom to cinders, a mermaid joins a strange doctor on a journey through the eerie taiga. Deep in the woods, the pair stumble upon a village, full of seemingly ageless children and the three surgeons who oversee them―called only “the saints.”

After discovering the villagers’ taste for a sinister blood sport, the mermaid and her companion must embrace the darkest parts of their true nature, if they hope to survive.

2 editions

The Salt Grows Heavy

4 stars

I quite enjoyed this dark fairy tale / body horror novella about the relationship between a mermaid and a plague doctor, as they investigate mysterious violent children in the woods in the thrall of three surgeon saints. I enjoyed the prose quite a bit, but I am also a sucker for stories about monsters and bodies, broken and (re)constructed.

(Also seriously though, I will content warn for on page violence, death, and gore. Various characters are eviscerated several times on page.)

The ebook that I read also included the short story "And In Our Daughters, We Find a Voice", which can be read here:

It's possible that I'm slow on the uptake, and so I didn't twig to the fact that the mermaid in The Salt Grows Heavy having her tongue cut out (losing her voice, in other words) was a riff on the little mermaid story. This short …

avatar for JustGrist

rated it

4 stars