Tender Is The Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Image of the front cover of the ebook version of Tender Is The Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica. The front cover is displayed on a Kindle Paperwhite which is laid on a dark blue background printed with bundles of herbs tied together. The front cover features the author's name and the book title alongside an image of a swirling red fabric that looks like a gush of blood. To the left is a title that reads 'Review, Tender is the flesh by Agustina Bazterrica, www.chatterfox.co.uk'

Excuse me whilst I collect my jaw up off the floor. Never ever has a book ending made me feel so utterly enraged, thoroughly deceived and unexpectedly shocked as this one has.
Imagine a world in which animal meat is no longer fit for human consumption. Where do we turn for our meat fix? I'll give you a clue-it's not plant based. Humans are bred for consumption. Raised like cattle with no rights. 
This is a very disturbing read. It mirrors the current meat industry so perfectly it's haunting. It reflects reality yet is so far removed from reality that it is the perfect dystopian fiction. An unimaginable world that is somehow scarily viable. Covering political, environmental and moral issues this book is quite literally food for thought. A must read. 

Tender is the flesh by Agustina Bazterrica is a masterpiece of dystopian fiction. It's not the most comfortable of reads in the current political and environmental climate but my word does this novel pack a dystopian punch.

Set in a world in which a widespread virus has made animal meat inedible to humans the meat market has had to adapt and evolve. 'Special Meat' is the new fillet steak and it's made from humans. Ones that are bred specifically for consumption.

The novel follows Marcos, the owner of a processing plant specialising in human meat. The reader follows the genteel and easily unsettled Marcos as he navigates life after the 'transition' as he battles his personal issues with 'special meat' alongside his ailing father and failing marriage.

The concept of legalised cannibalism is incredibly disturbing but what's even more unsettling is how the government handled the meat crisis and how subtley something once thought of unimaginable soon becomes the norm.

Reading about the ways in which humans are handled at the processing plant is uncomfortable, even more so when you realise it's exactly how our animal meat is raised and processed. It certainly provides you with material to reflect upon.

The storyline is rather basic, it simply follows Marcos as he goes about his daily life. What's interesting is how the world has changed and what makes the book so powerful is the readers response to this new world. The main ingredient in an effective dystopian novel is the setting and this is where this book excels. It's far enough away from reality to be entertaining yet close enough to reality to be shocking and uncomfortable. It's perfect.

I had enjoyed the novel throughly throughout and then I reached the end. The ending, quite literally made me yell "what the f*ck!". It was unexpected. It was shocking and I felt utterly enraged. I won't say more than that but I will say it was the ending the book deserved. Something so well written and a world so well captured needed a powerful ending and that is exactly what I got. It was a necessary ending but not pleasant - another factor that makes this book the perfect dystopia.

From the glowing review you can tell I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It certainly satisfied my dystopian itch in a way that only the likes of 1984 has done before. It feels like a classic and it should be read by anyone that enjoys the genre. I'm eager to discover more of Agustina Bazterrica's work. 

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