Hello dear Haunted MTL Readers. Has this week kicked anybody else in the ass? Anyone know what is going on with the cosmos? Something is up, or it could just be 2020 being 2020. Speaking of which, I ended up reading another book about a pandemic. I know, I know, I’m sick of hearing that word all the time too. But sometimes things fall in your lap and next thing you know, you’re reading a novel about a world where a virus poisoned all animal meat and cannibalism is the hot new delicacy.
“No one can call them humans.”
This skin crawling book is filled with explicit descriptions. If you have a squeamish stomach, proceed with caution.
Our protagonist Marcos has a lot on his plate. His wife left him, his father has dementia and his job at the cattle slaughterhouse now processes humans. After “the Transitioning,” humans are the world’s substantial source of protein. Special Meat, as it is called since nobody wants to think about eating their peers, comes in all shapes and sizes and prices. Only the finest for the rich, and cheap or Black Market for everyone else.
Marcos hates the hell that is his job, but he can’t make a living any other way. Even worse, he’s among the tabooed few who do not partake in cannibalism. His dream life would be to crawl into a hole and forget this entire new world even exists. But then he receives a special gift, a specimen that looks and acts like a human, and he wonders if there is a way to save the world from itself.
Delicious AND Nutritious.
Written in Spanish by Argentinian author Agustina Bazterrica and translated to English by Sarah Moses, Tender is the Flesh is a gruesome test of humanity’s limits. Bazterrica’s prose is wonderfully clever and astute; throughout all the 200 pages I was always on the edge of my seat. The story pulls in one direction then suddenly falls in another, making sure the reader is never too comfortable.
Filled with social commentary, human hunting games and a smidge of black comedy, Tender is the Flesh is a wild ride from start to finish. It is haunting, horrifying and made me only a little bit paranoid about the meat in my freezer.(4.5 / 5)
And, as always, don’t forget to check out what else we’re reading here at Haunted MTL.