Tender is the Flesh
MAJOR TRIGGER WARNINGS FOR THIS ONE: CANNIBALISM, ANIMAL CRUELTY, RAPE, PREGNANCY, AND DEATH. A full list of trigger warnings will be in the last bit of the review, but these are the big ones.
Marcos is the right hand man of the owner of a human processing plant. It’s the future, and a virus has made all animals deadly to humans, consumption or otherwise, so people have turned to another source of protein: themselves.
This post was going to be a bit different. My sister wanted me to read this book, to chat about it and compare thoughts, so I thought I would offer her the option of posting some of her thoughts along with mine. When she eventually decides to share that review with me...then I will update this post. Until then, it's just me here. :)
Per the usual, though, starting with what I didn’t like.
Honestly, there wasn’t a whole lot. The book was well-written, but it housed some heavy topics.
Cannibalism isn’t an easy topic to get into, but Bazterrica wrote Tender is the Flesh in such a way as to distance you from the actual world that exists within its pages. It’s third person omniscient, or semi-omniscient since the narrator is focused on Marcos. It makes it a lot easier to distance youself from the horror on the page, which helped me get through it. It’s like Marcos says about the words, and how characters are saying them. The book itself is choosing words very carefully in order to present the horrors of this dystopia without being too much that you put the book down and never pick it up again. Barzterrica is careful, and because she’s careful, the book is enjoyable.
The characters are also very complex, for each getting only a little bit of the story. I think it was the laboratory doctor that got me the most heated because of the way she talked, and the insufferability of her. She was just everything I’ve ever hated about people like her. But speaking of the people that are insufferable, I hate that it took me so long to realize what a piece of shit Marcos is.
Marcos is not a reliable person to be in the head of. He thinks he’s so much better than the others because he misses animals, his dogs, and does his horrible job to take care of his father, who is the only person he says refused to live in the world they made so he went mad. That should’ve been our first clue that Marcos was a dick. He’s also a hypocrite, because in the end he just ends up using Jasmine as his own. He can talk until he’s blue in the face that he’s disgusted by his job, but as soon as Jasmine is pregnant and offers him the chance to have a child to replace the one he had. Jasmine is nothing more to him than Koko and Pugliese were. She’s a pet, and one that can conveniently give him a second chance at fatherhood because she has no concept of self, let alone a concept of consent, and it’s disgusting. I feel dirty for every pitying thought I had for him.
He wasn’t wrong, though. His sister is heartless, his boss is a coward, the people he talks to for business are just as depraved. Veganism, as compared to cannibalism, is absolutely the way to go.
Trigger warnings: cannibalism, animal cruelty, gore, rape, child death, death of parent, pregnancy, branding, breeding (people), cremation, and lesser general capitalistic dystopia triggers.
⛈⛈⛈⛈🌧, because I couldn’t decide if this book is a 4.5 or a 5 star. I may never know. There’s a review on Goodreads I agree with (that you can read here), so.