Finalist for the 2023 PEN America Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Short Story Collection.
A goat begins to grow inside a human heart. The rightful king is born a hard, smooth seashell. Supernovas burst across skin like ink in water. Heartbreak transforms maidens into witches, girls into goblins, mothers into monsters. Hunger drives lovers and daughters, soldiers and ghosts, to unhinge their jaws and swallow the world. Drawing inspiration from a mixed heritage and from history--from the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen to the ancient legends of Thailand, from the suburbs of Buffalo, New York to the endless horizon of the American Midwest--Jasmine Sawers invents a hybrid folklore for liminal characters who live between the lines and within the creases of race and language, culture and gender, sexuality and ability. THE ANCHORED WORLD: FLASH FAIRY TALES AND FOLKLORE is equal parts love letter to the old tales and indictment of their shortcomings, offering a new mythology to reflect the many faces and voices of the twenty-first century.
"In this slender book you'll find stories small as pills--and in each pill a stimulant, a hallucinogen, a vitamin. Jasmine Sawers is a practitioner of fine narrative pharmacology."--Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers
"Contrary to common usage across the globe, the fairy tale world is a dangerous place to be. There is a power in Jasmine Sawers's stories, an essence. They dazzle and cut, like the shards of a broken mirror. Inside these pages, you'll find the beating heart of the fairy tale." --Karen Joy Fowler, author of Booth
"Reading Jasmine Sawers's THE ANCHORED WORLD, I became a tree, like many of the magical flora described in this book, rooted in the rich soil of these tales, nourished by this collision of song and story and criticism of a world that gives little but takes a bunch. I became immovable--reseeing (redreaming) familiar narratives with familiar characters cast in new lights and shrouded in new shadows. What is awe inspiring about The Anchored World was not just the beautiful stretches of Sawers's imagination, not just the poetic precision of their use of language, but the book's tender mix of stories inspired by a variety of countries and cultures, challenging the tyranny of normality, and creating--really creating--a literature that brings all voices into the fold, a truly inclusive form of literature." --Ira Sukrungruang, author of This Jade World