This book was never intended to grace the premise that is my Kindle library. Not this on early in our relationship, anyways. Typically, it takes a while for me to warm up to a novel so quickly; especially when I’ve seen “Tender is the Flesh” by Agustina Bazterrica talked about across the internet. I’ve relied heavily on Book of the Month and the aisles of department stores in person and online for my self-assigned reading list. My shopping list is easy, it’s accessible, and my spending problem also includes never cancelling subscriptions once I buy into them. If I hear about a book online, it will typically hibernate on some wish list until one day I add it into a shopping cart. I read too slow for libraries and spending sprees at bookstores I keep for rare occasions and mental health days.
On social media my timelines would be swarmed with divided opinions of this book. Everyone was reviewing this book, and some claimed that it was too mature for human consumption. The boundaries this book was said to push was going too far…so of course I had to read it. How could I say no?
The cover of the copy I downloaded is visually split vertically with a sepia portrait on the lower half of the novel and a red outline of a bull on the top half of the book. The cover is black, and there is a quote alongside the novel’s title by an author proclaiming this to be her newest novel of the year. On the top half of the book behind the red bull is black, which is a stark contrast, and the sepia portrait on the bottom half is offset by pink. The pink could be contrasted against the sepia, but it is not as stark as the contrast between the red and the black up top.
It is a bit of an eerie front cover, but it looks like a horror paperback book that I’d find at a used bookstore. The title makes the book standout for me because readers wouldn’t know what sort of horror genre this is just based off the title. Let’s be real, “The Haunting of Hill House” is probably a great book, but we know what it’s about. “Tender is the Flesh” let’s the imagination wander until you read the back cover.
Once you read a back cover summary for this book it’s game on.
This book is horrifying and repulsive. I would love to compare and contrast this book to another dystopian novel one day, perhaps George Orwell’s “1984” because there’s a lot to unpack here.
There are reasons why I cannot see how an entire society would resort to cannibalism if we were no longer allowed to eat pork/beef/poultry, but a horror novel doesn’t have to make sense to work. With that being said, this book still made my skin crawl.
This book may be too disturbing for some to finish. It’s a very visual book and the narrator gets lost within his own train of thought a lot. There were some points that I had to read slower than others to really process what in the actual eff was happening. Some of the content was very graphic and because there’s jargon being used that I’m not familiar with I had to slow down.
After Reading & Star rating
I read this book within a day. Yes, it was disturbing but it was a fantastic dystopian horror novel. The author had a message they needed to convey about society, and they did so masterfully. This book will make the reader think about the darker side of humanity and about the meat processing industry. It’s meant for the reader to feel uncomfortable about these topics.
My first 5/5-star rating in 2022 belongs to “Tender is the Flesh“. If you’re a reader with a vivid imagination you may have some trouble getting through this book because the material is very graphic at times. However, if you don’t mind the subject matter then I highly recommend this book.