In the preface, the reader is introduced to a world created by Satan out of boredom. In this world, crafted with great irony, people are designed as entertainment for their creator and, unsurprisingly, they go about their lives exactly the way people do. (Fundamentalists, take note: you do not want to read the preface.) Knipfel uses this tale to set the reader up for the amusements (some might say “horrors”) to come.
Without giving away too much, titles like “Plants Ain’t No Good,” “Rancid the Devil Horse,” “Maggot in a Red Sombrero,” and “Stench, the Crappy Snowman,” are clues to their twisted narratives. Filled with nasty creatures doing unpalatable things, these fables feature “heroes” who are mentally deficient or greedy (or both!), who are mere pawns of both the nasty creatures and the storyteller.
Knipfel weaves his sagas into a loathsome tapestry from which one cannot look away. His sardonic wit and caustic style take absurd situations and turn them into compelling, often cautionary, tales. In looking for morals to these stories, one that might apply is “This is what happens to people who are born.” Should the reader begin to imagine that These Children Who Come at You With Knives, and Other Fairy Tales is simply an imaginative exercise in creativity, a lesson of sorts will present itself. Generally, the lessons are reflections of our own ugly carelessness and irresponsibility.
All of These Children Who Come at You With Knives, and Other Fairy Tales is darkly humorous, heavily ironic, and mockingly intelligent. Fans of satire and sarcasm will find it to be a treasure, fans of syrupy sweet, happily-ever-after endings should look elsewhere.
Bottom Line: Would I buy These Children Who Come at You With Knives, and Other Fairy Tales? Of course I would; I’m that twisted.