“In fact, the higher I climbed, the more I felt the crawling horror of knowledge. At the foot of the stairs, all of truth lay torn open, flayed; with me above it, omniscient and shaking, not looking down.”
Broken Things encompasses a world of fractured realities and magic. Here are voices lost inside themselves, where the world is not as it should be and nothing may be trusted. These are the lives that are eked out at the very edges of the city, where God might be found in a bonfire or a bag lady can burst into a flock of pigeons and wild laughter.
This book picks at the familiar parts of the everyday and frays them, very slightly, reminding us of the beauty and fear of dreams, of things just glimpsed through the corner of the eye. A woman becomes a gas explosion, or witness to the death of a nameless man in a library. A kitchen knife crawls after a little girl to keep her safe and an old lady hears her mother calling from a cupboard.
Broken Things is a book for those who have not outgrown fairytales; for those who like to feel just a little disturbed; for those who remember the ancient creeping of childhood darkness and the exquisite glory of snow.
‘Padrika Tarrant's stories occupy a dark and gothic landscape. Her writing combines the spirits of Jan Svankmajer, Angela Carter, and Maurice Sendak but with a pure and true originality. The reader will be spellbound, horrified, and entertained all at the same time.’ —Kate Pullinger
‘There really isn’t really a writer like Padrika Tarrant. Her antecedents are the Comte de Lautréamont and Bruno Schultz, and the animator Jan Svankmajer. She is not a programmatic surrealist of any kind but an instinctive wanderer down knife-edges. Her writing is superbly precise, her intensity of vision luminous, her perception deeply humane, tender yet terrifying. It is the nature of her understanding that is perhaps the most remarkable, yet it would be nothing without the other gifts. Her poor, crazy stuffed houses are overflowing with life, rich with spirits, miracles and creatures who, like the writing itself, shine and darken, jostle, sing and die. They are tangible furnished visions, wonderful and humbling.’ —George Szirtes
‘Arresting and unsettling, earthy and unearthly, Tarrant’s brilliant miniatures invite comparison with the fictions of Angela Carter and the picture-stories of Edward Gorey or Neil Gaiman. Ultimately all comparisons fall flat, however. For all their dark echoes, Tarrant's work is inimitably her own.’ —Tobias Hill