“Tender is the Flesh” Book Review: A Chilling Dystopian Horror Novel

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Hey there, friends! A.J. here, back with another book review that is sure to leave you on the edge of your seat. Today, we’ll be diving into “Tender is the Flesh” by Agustina Bazterrica, a dystopian horror novel that is causing quite the stir in the literary world. So, let’s buckle up and see if this book lives up to the hype!

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The Author: Agustina Bazterrica

Let’s start by getting to know the author, Agustina Bazterrica. She’s a multi-talented artist born in Buenos Aires in 1974 and has written several novels. “Tender is the Flesh” is her third novel, and it’s already making waves, having won the prestigious Premio Clarin Novela in 2017.

Overview:

Upon initially reading “Tender in the Flesh,” the reader is immediately hit with the grotesque descriptions of slaughtering humans for meat. Agustina seems to revel in pushing the limits, describing in vivid detail what raising and slaughtering humans for meat might entail, including hanging humans by their feet and letting the blood seep out of their unconscious bodies.

Discover a bone-chilling dystopian horror in "Tender is the Flesh" - book cover.

The book is undoubtedly not for the squeamish, and readers need to be prepared for the gory details. However, beneath the graphic descriptions of human slaughter, there is a clear metaphor that Agustina is using. She is questioning what it would be like if humans were put in the place of animals and eating human meat became legal. The book explores the themes of animal cruelty, the consumption of animal meat, the ethics of slaughterhouses, and veganism. The book does not provide any explicit answers to these issues, but it raises critical questions that require reflection and discussion.

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The Plot: A Dystopian Horror Story

Now, let’s sink our teeth into the plot (pun intended). The novel takes place in a post-apocalyptic world where a virus has wiped out all animals, and humans have turned to cannibalism for survival. Marcos Tejo, a former executive who lost his family to the virus, works at a human processing plant. Marcos is numb to the horrors of his job, where humans are bred and processed for meat consumption, until he discovers a young woman being held captive at the plant.

Throughout the novel, Marcos is forced to confront his morals and ethics as he navigates through this cruel and inhumane world. “Tender is the Flesh” is a powerful commentary on the dangers of dehumanization, capitalism, and consumerism.

Themes: Dehumanization, Morality, and Ethics

One of the most significant themes in “Tender is the Flesh” is the dehumanization of individuals. In this dystopian world, humans are reduced to mere commodities in a society where profit is prioritized over ethical considerations. The novel also raises important questions about the morality and ethics of consuming human flesh, challenging readers to think about their values and the consequences of their actions.

Cannibalism as a last resort

The idea of cannibalism is not new to dystopian literature, but Bazterrica takes it to the extreme. Humans are bred and processed for meat consumption, and the act of eating another human has become normalized. It’s a horrifying thought, but it’s one that is presented in a way that is both disturbing and thought-provoking.

Dehumanization and the Human Condition

One of the central themes of Tender is the Flesh is the dehumanization of individuals. In this dystopian world, humans are reduced to mere commodities in a society where profit is prioritized over ethical considerations. The novel raises important questions about the morality and ethics of consuming human flesh, challenging readers to think about their values and the consequences of their actions. It’s a powerful commentary on the dangers of unchecked greed and the consequences of putting profit over ethics and morality.

The Effects of Unbridled Capitalism

Finally, Tender is the Flesh is a scathing critique of capitalism and consumerism. The novel highlights the dangers of a society that prioritizes profit over everything else. It’s a warning about the consequences of unchecked greed and the need for ethical considerations in a capitalist society. The novel challenges readers to consider the effects of consumerism on the world and the impact it has on the environment and society as a whole.

Literary Significance: A Must-Read Dystopian Classic

“Tender is the Flesh” is a well-crafted and thought-provoking novel that has already gained significant literary significance. It’s been compared to other dystopian classics such as George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” Bazterrica’s novel is a powerful commentary on the dangers of dehumanization, capitalism, and consumerism, making it a must-read for anyone interested in dystopian literature.

My Thoughts on “Tender is the Flesh”

Upon initially reading this book, I was pretty disgusted about what I was reading. Agustina seemed to revel in pushing the limits to describing in strong details about what raising and slaughtering humans for meat might entail, including hanging humans by their feet and letting the blood seep out of their unconscious bodies.

Pretty disgusting!!

However, I could sense the metaphor she was using.

What would it be like if instead of animals humans were put in their place and eating human meat became legal.

It was all coming into place.

What Did Withcindy Think of “Tender is the Flesh”??!

Withcindy had a pretty different take than me on “Tender is the Flesh”. Withcindy is an amazing Booktuber who has 494,000 subscribers on YouTube (as of April 2023).

‘Tender is the Flesh’ Book Club Questions

If you’re part of a book club discussing “Tender Is the Flesh” by Agustina Bazterrica, here are some thought-provoking questions to stimulate your discussion.

1. How does the author’s choice of using a dystopian setting enhance the exploration of ethical and moral dilemmas in the novel?

2. What are your thoughts on the protagonist’s journey from a participant in the flesh trade to someone questioning the system? How does this transformation contribute to the narrative?

3. Bazterrica explores the theme of dehumanization throughout the novel. How does this theme manifest in various characters and situations, and what commentary does it make on our society’s treatment of “others”?

4. The novel raises questions about the boundaries between humanity and savagery. How do characters navigate these boundaries, and what does it reveal about their nature?

5. Discuss the role of language and communication in the novel, particularly in relation to power dynamics and control.

6. “Tender Is the Flesh” addresses the ethical implications of consuming flesh. How does the novel challenge societal norms and prompt us to reconsider our relationship with food?

7. Explore the symbolism behind the recurring image of the animals in the novel. How do they function as both literal and metaphorical representations?

These thought-provoking discussion questions will ignite lively conversations and spark a profound exploration of the captivating themes and ideas that permeate “Tender Is the Flesh,” opening doors to a deeper understanding and a heightened level of engagement with the text.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Tender is the Flesh

Q: Is Tender is the Flesh suitable for all readers?

A: No, Tender is the Flesh is not suitable for all readers. Due to its graphic and disturbing content, including depictions of violence, cannibalism, and sexual content, the novel is not appropriate for children or sensitive readers.

Q: What is the premise of Tender is the Flesh?

A: Tender is the Flesh is a dystopian novel set in a world where a virus has wiped out all animal life and forced humans to turn to cannibalism for survival. The story follows Marcos, a slaughterhouse manager who is tasked with breeding and processing human meat for consumption. As Marcos becomes increasingly desensitized to the brutality of his job, he begins to question the morality of a society that has embraced cannibalism.

Q: What is the writing style of Tender is the Flesh?

A: The writing style of Tender is the Flesh is vivid, descriptive, and graphic. The novel does not shy away from depicting the horrors of the meat industry and the consequences of a society that has embraced cannibalism.

Q: What are some of the challenges readers may face when reading Tender is the Flesh?

A: Some readers may find the graphic descriptions of violence and cannibalism disturbing. Additionally, the novel raises challenging ethical and moral questions that may be uncomfortable for some readers to confront.

Q: Does Tender is the Flesh have any redeeming qualities?

A: Despite its graphic and disturbing content, Tender is the Flesh is a well-crafted and thought-provoking novel that explores complex themes and raises important questions about the human condition. It is a must-read for anyone interested in dystopian literature.

Q: What is the significance of the title Tender is the Flesh?

A: The title of the novel is a play on words, referencing the tenderness of human flesh when cooked and the tenderness of human emotions that are explored throughout the novel. The title serves as a reminder that the humans in the novel are not merely commodities, but individuals with emotions and humanity.

In Conclusion: A Powerful and Thought-Provoking Read

“Tender is the Flesh” is a masterful work of dystopian fiction that is sure to leave you questioning the morals and ethics of our society. It’s a challenging read that explores complex themes and raises essential questions about the human condition. If you’re looking for a book that will make you think deeply about the world around you, then “Tender is the Flesh” is the perfect choice.

If a good book has a plot and character arcs, a great book makes you feel something. Happiness, sadness or anger. In this instance, Tender in the Flesh made me feel so repulsive in so many different ways. But it also made me reflect on what we humans do to animals who go to the slaughter as well as the ethics of eating animal meat.

If You Loved “Tender is the Flesh” Read This Next:

Love disgusting books that make you feel revolting? Yeah, me too, LOL.

If you loved “Tender is the Flesh”, you might also enjoy “The Good Daughter” by Karin Slaughter. This one starts off heavy, but it slowly kills you as the layers of the disgusting onion get revealed.

Karin Slaughter - The Good Daughter book cover (horror books).

Leave a Comment For Me Below:

Have you read “Tender is the Flesh”? What did you think of it?

Do you love reading disgusting and horrifying books like “Tender is the Flesh”?

Let me know below!!

Peace!
A.J. McMahon
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