Cadáver exquisito de Bazterrica, Agustina

de Bazterrica, Agustina - Género: Ficcion
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El Premio Clarín 2017 fue otorgado a esta novela mayor, una sólida y escalofriante pesadilla futurista en la que el canibalismo es legitimado en gran parte del mundo a causa de un virus que afecta a los animales y resulta mortal para los seres humanos. ¿Qué resto de humanismo puede caber cuando los cuerpos de los muertos son cremados para evitar su consumo? ¿En qué lugar queda el vínculo con el otro si, de verdad, somos lo que comemos? En esta despiadada distopía -tan brutal como sutil, tan alegórica como realista-, Agustina Bazterrica inspira, con el poder explosivo de la ficción, sensaciones y debates de suma actualidad.

Reseñas Varias sobre este libro

Many might say that a book dealing with the level of brutality and horrific subject matter that makes up this book could never be thoughtful or highbrow. I disagree with that. I definitely think literature depicting graphic violence doesn't automatically disqualify it from being anything more than an assault on the senses or torture porn. I think it can lay out valuable examinations of so many aspects of society that deserve to be scrutinized, all while remaining allegorical. Battle Royale by Koushun Takami (as well as its film adaptation) is just one example of a successful novel of this nature.

Unfortunately, Tender Is The Flesh didn't live up to that expectation for me.

It truly is brimming with brutality. In fact, that's all it is, is brutal. A virus that turns animal meat poisonous to humans causes humans to slaughter every non-human animal and begin factory farming human beings for food instead. You would think that a concept such as: "imagine what the world would be if humans were treated the way we treat animals in factory farms" would have a lot to say. Just think about the fact that in the western part of the world, most people don't think twice about eating certain animals as food, but will get disgusted, enraged and even downright racist when other cultures in other parts of the world eat animals westerners don't view as 'food animals'. Or the fact that most people eat fish, have no qualms with the concept of fishing, but will protest whale hunting as it applies to various Indigenous cultures, particularly Inuit. I could go on and on. The point is, a book with this concept could tackle some serious societal issues - environmental destruction, racism, health, food insecurity, speciesism, etc. As I entered this book and continued reading through it, I often wondered, "are we going to examine which humans are deemed 'food humans' in a meaningful way? Does it even matter? Does race, class, sexuality, or anything come into play in this near-future dystopian world that so closely could resemble our own?"

And the answer is no. Because this book unpacks nothing.

There were certainly minor suggestions toward some things, but they were quickly set aside in order to either continue describing the horrific acts inflicted upon these farmed humans, or to meander on about mundane things in the main character's personal life that ended up having little to no significance on the overall story. We didn't even really get anything in the way of showing how people came to accept this cannibalistic way of life, or how those who work in these factories are affected in their personal lives. The closest we get to a glimpse of this is the main character essentially being described as not caring one way or another, human or non-human slaughter, because he was only in the industry in order to pay for his father's nursing home. I'm sorry, but that is just not well-rounded enough for me as a reader. There was even the compelling hint at an ongoing conspiracy theory that the virus was faked by governments in order to deceive society into cannibalism as a means to alleviate overpopulation. However, this subplot peters out pretty quickly, but only after having a group of teenage boys briefly bring up the conspiracy's existence in conversation while graphically killing a litter of puppies they found in an abandoned zoo. Again, it's brutality for the sake of brutality and seemingly nothing else.

Of course, I don't need -and I know many other readers don't need- literature or any form of entertainment to have a big, glaring moral spoonfed to me/us. Despite all that I've said, I hope it doesn't seem I'm implying I didn't this book because it didn't hold my hand while leading me through a clear and precise commentary of my own biases. I don't need that. But if a book is to be this grotesque in its depictions, I do think it should either go completely nihilistic (and thus let that speak for itself) or have at least something compelling to show for it. I think, overall, this book felt incomplete to me and that's my biggest gripe. The author certainly had ideas, but because her world-building was weak and her writing offered little in the way of depth, those ideas never really broke the surface and ended up fizzling out before anything of interest or import could come of it.

Underneath all its gruesomeness, shock value and gore, it's actually a super boring book.fiction horror1,625 s32 comments Emily May2,059 312k

I have always believed that in our capitalist, consumerist society, we devour each other. - Agustina Bazterrica
This story is really disturbing, and it isn't until the very last page that it becomes clear just how deeply disturbing it is.

Tender Is the Flesh is an Argentinian import from an author who is apparently very popular in her own country. After reading this, dare I ask what other horrors she has created? This dystopian horror story is set in a world that feels so close to our own, except a zoonotic virus has made it so that all animals have had to be destroyed. To fill the gap in the meat market, people start to breed and farm humans for their meat.

It is as horrifying and gory as it sounds. Extra warning for those sensitive to scenes of sexual assault and animal cruelty. But while it is hard to stomach at times, I was morbidly fascinated by what Bazterrica had to say about the way humans take advantage of other humans because they can get away with it. The book is horribly convincing and believable. We only have to look to our own real world to recall the excuses humans have made to enslave other humans and to shuttle them off to extermination camps. It does not take a huge suspension of disbelief to imagine the events of this book could happen.

The book also focuses on the way language is used to make humans feel better about committing atrocities. No one is allowed to say "cannibalism" and the meat in the book is packaged as "special meat". There's some dark humour, too, with a few prods at the hypocrisy of humans being outraged by slavery at the same time as imprisoning and eating other humans.

It is told in third person limited and follows Marcos Tejo who works at a meat plant. He takes us through all the horrors involved with breeding, killing, flaying and packaging humans, whilst also dealing with the loss of his own infant son.

For such a bleak tale, it is surprisingly compelling. All the time while reading I was wondering what on earth the conclusion of this nightmare could leave us with, but I think it was even more effective than I could have imagined.2021 dystopia-utopia horror1,696 s5 comments Lark BenobiAuthor 1 book2,811 Read

One of the most relentless and ugly books I've ever read. A book that describes a society where humans are slaughtered for meat, in more detail than I was ready for. This novel willfully refuses to allow itself to fall into any category of fiction that would make it easier to take as a reader. The flat direct style of its prose didn't allow me, as I read along, to think of it as horror, or satire, or a metaphorical representation of social injustice, or a nihilistic moral thesis about humanity. It is exactly what it is. Never boring, it managed to continue to shock me until its final pages.

In 2010 Roger Ebert reviewed the cult movie The Human Centipede and wrote:

I am required to award stars to movies I review. This time, I refuse to do it. The star rating system is unsuited to this film. Is the movie good? Is it bad? Does it matter? It is what it is and occupies a world where the stars don't shine.

That goes for this novel, as well. If forced to give stars, I would give it five stars, for the way it relentlessly fulfills its purpose.2020 amazingly-awful-5-star-reads argentina ...more1,949 s9 comments emma2,121 67.3k

update: it has come to my attention that my original review of this sucks and is poorly phrased. i meant to say that i found this book to be trying too hard to be edgy, and that i think the point it's trying to make about factory farming is heavy handed, and that i think humans are more good than bad.

but i didn't succeed in conveying any of that, so i deleted it.


currently-reading updates

quick word of advice:

i picked this one up to start during my lunch break today.

don't do that.

tbr review

don't mind me, just adding another hot girl book to my to-read list2-stars authors-of-color dystopian ...more694 s11 comments Kat268 79.9k

FUUUUUUUUCK ok the ending got me2,557 s7 comments Larry76 8,687

Completely disgusting and beautiful at once. Humans are animals. My stomach churned the entire time, but I could not stop reading this book. And no, I did not, could not predict how it ends.753 s Shawn McComb75 12.9k

nearly threw up in Starbucks 980 s1 comment Ayman256 109k

Is there a reason why they couldn’t just do plant-based protein??
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