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  • Kelly Jarvis

Book Review: The Anchored World: Flash Fairy Tales & Folklore

The Anchored World: Flash Fairy Tales and Folklore by Jasmine Sawers

The Anchored World, by Jasmine Sawers, is a slim volume of flash fiction and folklore that packs a powerful punch. Combining foundational knowledge of Western fairy tales with an exploration of Thai fairy tales and folklore, Sawers crafts a stunning tableau of stories that shocks and delights.

Although Sawers works with recognizable tales like “Cinderella”, “Rapunzel”, and “Hansel and Gretel”, they twist them in remarkable ways. Their “Thumbelina” story explores the fine line between love and devouring, while their “Rumpelstiltskin” tale meditates on the title character after he has been stitched back together. “Once Upon a Time in an Orchard” features poisoned apples described with such luscious simplicity that readers will finally understand why Snow White takes a bite, and “A Girl / A Witch / A Crone” plays with fairy tale formulas to contemplate the terms and circumstances that define women.

Sawers’ stories drip with shocking sizes and colors; mothers give birth to golden conch shells, a husband is found inside a can of Spam, polar bears nest inside freezers, a goat takes up residence in the left ventricle of the heart, and grief and joy are written upon the body like strokes of watercolor. Sawer blurs the line between animal and human in stories like “My Mother the Horse” and confronts the painful ideas of culture clash, infertility, suicide, and broken family relationships. Several stories tease out the difficulties of motherhood and one is even dedicated to the “murdered Asian American women who didn’t make the headlines”.

In addition to moments that make the reader gasp, the collection is full of beauty. My favorite tale, “Where the Moon Meets the Sea” touchingly relays the love story between the moon and the ocean. The Anchored World steers readers through the light and dark aspects of culture, folklore, fairy tale, and life, and the collection will leave a permanent mark upon readers’ memories.

You can find a copy of the book HERE.

Kelly Jarvis teaches classes in literature, writing, and fairy tale at Central Connecticut State University, The University of Connecticut, and Tunxis Community College. She lives, happily ever after, with her husband and three sons in a house filled with fairy tale books. She is also Enchanted Conversation’s special project’s writer.


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