Dark, strange, lyrical, and full of frustrated desire and whimsy, Carmen Lau's debut collection of stories and novellas paints a vivid picture of femininity in the clutches of fantasy, reflecting the brutality of growing up a girl and challenging readers to rethink fairy tales as they've always known them. Within, you'll find a tender heart, a painful core, and a paradoxically disastrous and beautiful coming-of-age of every and any girl, told through fairy tales that mirror real life and are at once contemporary and timeless. Joining the ranks of Angela Carter, Kate Bernheimer, and Allyse Near, Lau weaves tales of a girl who is too fantastical to be real and too real to be fantasy.
"A beautifully vicious first collection of retrofitted fairy tales, with whip-smart swerves, darkly funny moments, and razor-sharp language. Like Angela Carter meets Let the Right One In with a dash of Lady Vengeance tossed in for good measure."
—Brian Evenson, author of Windeye and ALA-RUSA Award-winner Last Days
"Haunting and beautiful, Carmen Lau's collection reads like a fever-dream of all your familiar childhood tales. These stories are at once contemporary and timeless, intertwining modernity and the world of the ever-after with deliriously powerful prose. Readers may need a trail of breadcrumbs or a ball of twine to find their way back to reality—The Girl Wakes is mesmerizing."
—Eric Shonkwiler, author of Above All Men and Moon Up, Past Full