Blurb Book Review: Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica (spoilers ahead)

Image from Goodreads.com

This novel was a remarkably difficult read. Not for the narrative style, but for the content. Still, I was glued to it from the first page right until the end.

Some people are bred to be consumed. In the novel, this is literal. A virus made animal meat inedible so all animals were exterminated. The population still wanted meat, so the government created and monitored a process for sterile cannibalism.

In reality, the working class is bred for consumption of corporations. Celebrities are bred or curated for consumption by the masses. The only perceived value some people have is what they can offer in terms of content.

Beyond cannibalism, the novel explores how humans can sanitize the most horrific acts by using clinical language. The characters weren’t consuming people, they were consuming ‘special meat’. The group of humans entering the processing facility weren’t human, they were ‘head’ or ‘meat’.

What was truly disturbing was how fast this society adapted to this concept. The main character, Marcos, remembers animals as a child. As a young adult he worked in a meat processing facility where he learned how to handle the head and the ins and outs of the industry. Now, as a middle-aged man, he ran a processing plant for special meat.

This novel is a masterpiece in examining human attitudes and beliefs, of our societal norms, and of how easily people can be manipulated. It’s also, hands down, the most disturbing book I’ve ever read. I recommend this book to anyone who can stomach the contents.

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