Tender Is the Flesh

Paperback, 224 pages

Published Aug. 4, 2020 by Scribner.

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4 stars (4 reviews)

Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans —though no one calls them that anymore.

His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing.

Then one day he’s given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.

5 editions

Brutal for the sake of being brutal

3 stars

This book made me feel disgusted in a way that a book has never made me feel. It was really fascinating, and upsetting, and I'm glad it's over. I'm not a huge fan of the horror genre, so perhaps it wasn't for me. But, as brutal as this book was, and how clearly allegorical it was, it surprisingly did not have a lot to say beyond "imagine what it would be like if we had industrialized meat but made from humans". Maybe it did say something more than that (it did seem to touch on the topic of how we so easily can dehumanize others), but I didn't grasp it. ANYWAY, it was okay, thanks TikTok for the recommendation.