Rating - ⭐⭐⭐1/2
"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."
Tender is the Flesh is a standalone horror novella by Agustina Bazterrica.
I knew this was going to be, what is the right word, diabolical, controversial? Either way, this book isn't for the faint of heart and we all knew that going into it. I've actually been meaning to read this for a while and finally had the chance to do so. This isn't the first thing I have delved into centred around cannibalism, having watched shows like Hannibal, Fresh, and Bones and All. Despite the morbid story, it was still kind of interesting to read about.
Most of the horror is rooted in the reader learning more and more about the inner processes of the processing plant. Weirdly enough it was the cannibalism or the farming that bothered me the most, it was the breeding. I'm sure every woman who read this got the serious ick at the idea of that. In all honesty, the story felt like all of the questionable detective show episodes piled into one book.
On top of that, we have Marcos, our main character, who is very questionable in his own right. For some reason, I never thought about what the story would actually focus on or who we would be following. Marcos was a pretty bland character to follow, but he does have his moment in the end which I wasn't expecting (nor did I particularly like because of the way the story leaves you hanging).
This isn't an easy read, no denying that, but I did get through it easily enough since I'm not too sensitive to stuff like this. If you do have issues reading about cruelty, both animal and human, then maybe you might want to give this a hard pass.