Tender Is the Flesh

Paperback, 224 pages

Published Aug. 4, 2020 by Scribner.


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4 stars (3 reviews)

Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans —though no one calls them that anymore.

His wife has left him, his father is sinking into dementia, and Marcos tries not to think too hard about how he makes a living. After all, it happened so quickly. First, it was reported that an infectious virus has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Then governments initiated the “Transition.” Now, eating human meat—“special meat”—is legal. Marcos tries to stick to numbers, consignments, processing.

Then one day he’s given a gift: a live specimen of the finest quality. Though he’s aware that any form of personal contact is forbidden on pain of death, little by little he starts to treat her like a human being. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost—and what might still be saved.

3 editions

Review of 'Tender Is the Flesh' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This book was unrelenting. I found myself reading it during my meal breaks at work which is, decidedly, a mistake.

I'm well aware of, and at this point of nearly a decade as a vegan, sadly unphased by the horrors of factory farming and meat consumption. The fact that this book was focused on human agriculture had me wondering- will people who read this and are unaware of what really happens at a factory farm think twice about consuming animals? Is human pain insufferable to picture and difficult to read, but animal pain permissible? The fictional workers at these processing plants, and tanneries still exist in the real world, and will they still be deserving of empathy as well once the reader finishes this book? The trophy hunters, butchers, and laboratory techs still hunt, maim, and vivisect animals, are they not deserving of the same disgust?

These are all things …