Tender is the Flesh

Thoughts by Augustina Bazterrica, Scribner 2020, 211 pages

Translated from the Spanish by Sarah Moses

Challenge: TOB

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Lit, South American Lit, Dystopia, Cannabalism

Type/Source: Tradeback/Indie bookstore

What It’s About: What does cannibalism look like? This book offers imagery and description, a generation after the Transition.

Our protagonist Marcos is skilled at what he does – problem solve. But he hates his job, hates his life, hates the world. He has suffered personal loss – his son has died of what I assume was SIDS, his wife has left — taken her grief home to her mother, his father suffers from dementia in a nursing home. Marcos must work to afford his father’s care and protection.

His job is right hand man to the chief of one of the best of the “special” meat processing plants – humans bred and slaughtered specifically to be a food source. The book explores the language, the conspiracy theories, the adjustment of society to the eradication of diseased animals (or so says the government) to embracing the new protein delicacies, the fear of birds, the need for Scavengers to be a balancing cog in the food chain. It’s all quite revolting.

Thoughts: The author skillfully brings the reader into a sympathy with Marcos; we share his disgust and feelings of being trapped. Will he, can he escape?

Rating: Three slices of pie. Four possibly for story-build but … I just can’t say I enjoyed this one. No pie mentioned.

SO. Possible Spoilers? The other night, we watched an episode of The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher, Beyond the Pale, and I reflected on what happens at the end of this book in relation to that story; of a soldier in England who sends for his English wife who cannot have children of her own. The social and cultural entanglements and justifications, surrogate motherhood, acceptance and scandal, bias and deep-seated beliefs concerning classism and race. That’s all, just got me thinking.

and why doesn’t my end quote copyright show up in the tiny print I want??

2 thoughts on “Tender is the Flesh

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