Tender is the Flesh – Agustina Bazterrica

Stars: *****

As soon as I saw the blurb for this, I had to pre-order it!

Tender is the Flesh is set in the future; animal meat is now poisonous to humans, so ‘special’ meat is now on the menu.

Special meat…is human meat. ‘Heads’ are bred and slaughtered to be eaten (the process is explained very explicitly) in order for the diet to not change too drastically. Slaughterhouses, butchers and tanneries find new ways to continue their work in order to create new products. Animals are killed on sight as people are terrified that they will catch the virus. There are even hunts organised which celebrities can sign up to be a part of: survival means your debt is paid.

But some aren’t sure that the virus isn’t as dangerous as the government are saying. Some don’t think it’s real at all.

Having already lost his baby son, Marcos is questioning everything he knew since the ‘Transition’. Then, one day, he is gifted a female. Marcos’ already transforming outlook on life changes further. Can he continue the way he has been?

I was gripped from start to finish whilst reading this. There are lots of dystopia novels on the shelves (I’m a huge fan of them anyway!) but this felt especially fresh and new. It makes you question what your own actions might be if this situation ever arises and caused a lot of discussion in our staff room. I can see how some people might question their meat consumption after reading this book too, though I admit it’s not something I have ever considered changing!

This is a book I would definitely recommend others to read; it will invoke debate, encourage thoughtfulness and also make you question what different futures of our population could be.


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