When I picked this book up I thought it would be predictable in the end, a little like the movie Soilent Green. I was happy to be incorrect.
The book follows Marcos, a man who had his wife leave after a tragedy. He is trying to figure things out, while still working at the slaughterhouse, where the cattle is people. A virus has made all animal meat infectious and toxic to humans, at least that is what the government wants everyone to believe. In comes humans bred for food, they are bred to be cattle and only cattle, with no thought or intelligence. One day Marcos is given a gift, a gift he is not sure what to do with. He starts trying to decide what to do with this gift, when he realizes what he has been given. Marcos must keep a secret while trying to move on with his wife, and his life.
This book made me think, especially now going through this Coronavirus pandemic. I wondered what those of us in the United States would do if the government claimed all animals and animal meat were toxic? We are having a hard enough time trying to regulate what people should or should not do during the pandemic, so it was a perfect time to read this book.
This was a very disturbing novel, in more ways than it simply being about cannibalism. The book followed Marcos as he moved through time, going from slaughterhouse, to butchers shop, to cattle field. We see him introduce to potential applicants through the floor of the slaughterhouse, as humans are treated like pigs. Stunned and then killed, these humans are expertly dismembered to separate the pieces to go where they will be distributed. Marcos lives a hard life, full of questions, and he often questions what is and isn't right. After the tragedy that he and his wife suffer, he has stopped eating meat, and no matter what he does he struggles to get past what he has seen and lost. Marcos isn't sure what to do, so he goes against what he has always believed, and what the government has told him, and makes a decision all on his own.
I am pleased to say that while I was reading this novel I thought it was going to end predictably, but it did not. The ending was unexpected as I really thought that Marcos had changed his mind and was going to do something totally the opposite of what he did. The novel is one of those novels that make you think about what makes a person human, what makes a person someone who gets to live or someone to be eaten, and how far are you willing to go to get meat if it becomes unavailable. I am still thinking of this book, and I finished it a few weeks ago, I simply waited to write this review because I kept thinking of this book.
Really, if you have a chance read this book. It is about more than cannibalism, it is about life and life choices.