Friday 7 February 2020

Tender is the Flesh Book Review

I'm a huge fan of using social media when it comes to finding book recommendations, chatting to other bookish fans and discovering new authors that I wouldn't necessarily seek out for myself. One of my favourite platforms for this is Twitter. 

And this is the exact reason I can share my latest book review with you all because I was fortunate enough to win a giveaway for a copy of Agustina Bazterrica's novel, Tender is the Flesh.


It all happened so quickly. First, animals became infected with the virus and their meat became poisonous. Then governments initiated the Transition. Now, 'special meat' – human meat – is legal.

Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans – only no one calls them that. He works with numbers, consignments, processing. One day, he's given a gift to seal a deal: a specimen of the finest quality. He leaves her in his barn, tied up, a problem to be disposed of later.

But the specimen haunts Marcos. Her trembling body, her eyes that watch him, that seem to understand. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost – and what might still be saved…

The reason I even contemplated entering the giveaway was all because of the front cover. Beautifully artistic, I felt like it depicted what the title of the story wanted to portray perfectly.

This novel has already been translated into nine different languages and optioned for a TV series and I for one would definitely watch that programme with a degree of fascination and an equal measure of horror.

If everyone was eating human flesh, would you?

Broken down into two parts, Tender is the Flesh is a tale like no other. Following protagonist Marcos, who is in the unfortunate business of slaughtering humans, we get quite graphic descriptions of just what must be done to keep the population going. 

I wouldn't go as far as using the word thriving because the book infers that the initial viruses to infect the animals could have all been a work of fiction from the government to decrease the population and gain back more control.

A conspiracy theory that sounds completely plausible.

Marcos's main drive for staying in a job that he clearly despises is the money, money to pay to care for his father's failing health as he sees out his final days in a sort of nursing home.

... and its expression was so human that it filled me with horror...

This man is haunted by so many moments of his past. A lost son, a wife now living with her mother as she fails to cope with such a loss and a sister who seems to be rather naive when it comes to the world in which she lives in.

Everything seems to change when he is gifted a specimen, and a fine one at that. The question is what to do with it (not her because they can't be seen as human) keep her, sell her or simply dispose of her?

As the book progressed I began to wonder just where the author was heading. 

If you didn't already know, I'm telling you to expect the unexpected.

What he wants to do is prohibited. But he does it anyway.

For a book that has been translated, it is written with a real finesse.

What I would describe as a deliciously dark Dystopian, I'd advice that this isn't a book for the faint hearted, not just because of how graphic it is in places but more so because what is talked about could actually be a reality one day in the future.

That's what makes it a real horror for me.

I'm telling you, Tender is the Heart is a book that you need to read this year!


  1. I'm not sure that is is a book that I would want to read right now, it sounds a little too macabre for me!


  2. Ooh, this sounds a little too close to reality! Not one for me.

  3. No I don't think I could read this. Think it would give me nightmares

  4. It sounds interesting, but much as I love crime fiction, and even true crime, I'm not sure if I could cope with this one! I'm also not keen on dystopian novels.


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