Tag: Sarah Moses

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Posted October 13, 2020 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Dystopia / 2 Comments

Tender is the Flesh by Agustina BazterricaTitle: Tender is the Flesh (Goodreads)
Author: Agustina Bazterrica
Translator: Sarah Moses
Published: Pushkin Press, 2017
Pages: 224
Genres: Dystopia
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindleWordery (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Tender is the Flesh was released at the perfect time, with the current global pandemic, a novel about a virus that changes the way we look at the world. Agustina Bazterrica’s novel primarily follows Marcos, who works in a slaughterhouse producing ‘special meat’. When the virus hit, all animals were infected andtheir meat became poisonous. The government had to make some changes to the law, now it was legal to buy ‘special meat’ – human meat.

This is a weird dystopian novel that has one very basic message that really sticks in your brain. The concept of giving up meat is so ridiculous that the country starts producing humans that will be used as meat. These are not people; they are cattle and are treated in that way. The concept of giving up meat and turning vegan is too preposterous for the country. Cannibalism becomes the norm.

The idea behind the novel seems to be focusing on just how cruel humans are, going to great detail to explain the process used to prepare meat at a slaughterhouse and the treatment of animals (in this case humans). Tender is the Flesh takes it a step further, with the retirement homes advertising the security they offer for your elderly relatives to protect them from being slaughtered and eaten. The world population drastically declines, and people have lost the ability to be caring or loving to others around them.

That is the entire premise, Tender is the Flesh takes a simple idea and plays out the situation. The way people turn on each other, the way people change their views on society and the ridiculous notion of becoming vegan. This is a dark comedy set in a dystopian world and executed with perfection. I cannot say that this converted me to becoming a vegan, but I think I honestly need to make more of an effort. An ugly look at our consumeristic culture and here I am, still wrestling with the idea of protecting the animals…I hate myself, but I think this novel achieved its goals.

Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz

Posted March 28, 2018 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Contemporary / 4 Comments

Die, My Love by Ariana HarwiczTitle: Die, My Love (Goodreads)
Author: Ariana Harwicz
Translator: Sarah Moses, Carolina Orloff
Published: Charco Press, 2017
Pages: 128
Genres: Contemporary
My Copy: eBook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindleWordery (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Longlisted for the Man Booker International Prize 2018

Ariana Harwicz’s book Die, My Love is the type of novel that will leave you emotionally drained. Translated from the Spanish by Sarah Moses & Carolina Orloff, this is a powerful portrayal of a woman trapped in motherhood. Having recently given birth to her second child, all she yearns for is freedom. Never have I read a novel that is so raw with emotion.

Whether or not this woman is suffering from postnatal depression or not is not something I wish to debate. I wonder if trying to diagnose her would sell this book short. She is going through so many different emotions and never holds back with her feelings. Die, My Love feels like a gut punch of emotions. A novel that is to be experienced more than analysed.

There is no doubt in my mind that this is an autobiographical novel. I cannot imagine Ariana Harwicz being able to write this without living the experience. There is an intensity in the writing that never feels fake. The conflicting emotions of yearning for freedom mixed with her motherly instincts hold the narrative together. The connection with nature stems from her constant desire to be free but also a reference to a child’s carefree nature.

“I think about how a child is a wild animal, about another person carrying your heart forever.”

The narrative that Ariana Harwicz is able to weave is so affecting; we are able to follow this vivid portrayal of a mother and experience every single emotion and thought, no matter how dark or disturbing it may be. There are many times where I feel like this protagonist is over sharing but that just adds to the raw and intense honesty. I was left in awe and have not been able to get the images from this novel out of my head. It will be a book that I will come back to again and again.

I have been going down a rabbit hole of Argentinian literature and Die, My Love seems to invoke a common style, often found in recent novellas from this great literary scene. It pleases me to see how many Argentinian women writers are getting their moment to shine and I expect to see more in the future. There is something about these books that are able to explore so much in such a short novel. For great Argentinian books by women including Die, My Love, look no further than Things We Lost in the Fire by Mariana Enríquez, Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin and Savage Theories by Pola Oloixarac.