The book cover for “Tender is the Flesh” by Agustina Bazterrica. A face is centered against a black background, with the bottom half a woman’s black and white profile and the top half a solid red graphic of horns. Photo courtesy Scribner.

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica (2017)

Trigger Warnings for Tender is the Flesh


This translated novel has recently gotten a lot of attention for its unashamed usage of a taboo topic to create commentary: cannibalism. “Tender is the Flesh” is a dystopian-horror novel in which a virus has rendered all animals inedible–leaving people that crave meat only one outlet. “Tender is the Flesh” goes into excruciating detail about the new world order formed after the legalization of cannibalism, from the meat industry to hushed-up societal unrest. 


Readers should take special care to check the warnings for this book, as it is not recommended for those with little to no experience within the horror genre. On its own, the horror would be considered shock value and even gratuitous, but “Tender is the Flesh” doesn’t set out to be a horror novel. The horror is the vessel in which the commentary rests; a sustained metaphor meant to make the reader question the sustainability of meat consumption. The overtness of the metaphor may come off as heavy-handed to seasoned readers, but Bazterrica isn’t going for subtle. Overall, Tender is the Flesh is a solid read–if the reader has the stomach for it.

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