Tender is the Flesh




Working at the local processing plant, Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans after an infectious virus made all animal meat poisonous. Then one day, he is 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.


This book is incredibly unnerving and gore-heavy- a special kind of horror that is still digestible despite its being repulsive. The story is about an infectious virus that has made all animal meat poisonous to humans. Governments have now legalized eating human meat, "special meat". It is brutal and does not shy away from the horrors of cannibalism. I enjoyed the first-person perspective as the MC is so detached and is also very complex. In addition to this, being in his head doesn’t give away the plot and its twists while still giving us his unfiltered thoughts.

It is an insight into our current industrial meat complex while also taking a look at the dehumanization in this dystopia. The way the Government dehumanizes its citizens to exploit them, refusing to call them what they are, “humans” and stripping them of their humanity by calling them “heads”; almost referring to them as animals. We also don’t know if the virus is real- it could be the Government spreading fear to gain control over its citizens in the most inhumane, power-hungry way possible.

I also love the plot twist- it shook me to my core. Our MC is not what he seems.

The ending was shocking but once I thought about it, it made sense. The book is about human greed and self-preservation over anything else and the during the book, he calls out his sister for being greedy with money and like the rest tricks me into thinking he was against cannibalism but on reflection, I don't think he was bothered by it because he has an ‘ as long as it's not me ‘ mentality. Also, humanizing Jasmine made me feel for her like she was a child; vulnerable and naïve, making his actions worse.

 It is certainly not an easy read- it almost makes you feel dirty and grimy for even flipping through the pages. But it’s a book that makes you think and reflect. 

Would highly recommend it to readers who enjoy 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 but also like gore. (I wouldn’t say it fits in the horror genre in terms of jump scares, but I’d think cannibalism is quite horrifying.)

Book Details

Highly recommended
Published: 04 August 2020
Page Count: 211 pages


Content Warning Summary

  •  Cannibalism
  • Animal cruelty
  • Gore