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Agustina Bazterrica Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Tender Is the Flesh (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Unworthy (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Nineteen Claws and a Black Bird (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Agustina Bazterrica is an Argentinian short story writer and novelist best known for her debut “Tender is the Flesh.”

She is one of the most prominent literary figures in Buenos Aires and is the coordinator of several reading workshops and the cio curator of Siga al Conejo series.

For her work, she has won several awards including the Premio Clarin Novela for her blockbuster novel “Tender is the Flesh.” Bazterrica has called her work protest writing, even though she often changes her style depending on what she is writing.

Her style can be narrative, visual and dry like in “Cadaver Exquisito” or very baroque like in “Matar a la nina.” She has also been known to write some very satirical works as evidenced in “Antes del encuentro feroz.”

She has over the years been influenced by the great female authors of our times. Some of these authors include Han Kang, Virginia Woolf, Margaret Atwood, Clarice Lispector, Lorrie Moore, Marguerite Duras, Olga Orozco, and Flannery O’Connor among others.

Agustina Bazterrica was compelled to write her novel in some ways because of her brother who is a chef in Argentina. Her brother runs an organic restaurant in Buenos Aires and has done several studies on how food could cure or make one ill.

It was from reading her brother’s works that Agustina started making small changes to what she ate. She figured that it would not hurt since she had for years been reading about how meat in a diet is not healthy.

At some point, she decided that she would one day quit eating meat but the real change came when she watched the documentary “Earthlings.” The documentary explores how humans treat animals such as cats and dogs that are abandoned even as many other domestic animals are reared and killed for food.

The cruelty made her cry for days. Several years later, Bazterrica was walking through a butcher’s shop in the capital when she had something of a revelation.
She started thinking that in Argentina people eat chickens, pigs and cows even as in India cows are considered sacred. She started thinking that what we eat is all cultural, which means that in some cultures it would be okay to eat each other.

Bazterrica does a lot of research for her work but for “Tender is the Flesh” she got much of her inspiration from Ana Paula Maia’s novel “De ganados y de Hombres.”

The work is set in a warehouse and offers insights into the process of slaughtering animals. She also read Han Kang’s “The Vegetarian” and Carlos Rio’s “Cuaderno de campo.” For the theme of cannibalism, she read Adolfo Chaparro Amaya’s novel “Pensar Canibal.”

Her biggest revelation when researching the novel has to be “Extranos Animales,” which means “Strange Animals” by Argentine philosopher and author Monica Cragnolini.

The author and philosopher teaches at a college where she talks and studies animal rights. It got Baztericca thinking philosophically about how we animalize humans and humanize animals.

When her colleague read her manuscript she wrote to her telling her it was great and that she should think about publishing.

What is interesting is that Unlike most authors Baztericca never read dystopian fiction while writing as she did not believe her work was dystopian.
Moreover, she never thinks she is writing a great dystopia as everything she writes is visceral. The reason for this is that she watched a lot of films and documentaries and read all manner of manuals explaining the workings of a slaughterhouse.

In many interviews, Agustina Bazterrica has said that she loves literature that generates a response and makes an impact even as it does not tell one what to do. In her works, she usually aism to generate questions and in fact, she has had several people write to her informing her that they no longer eat meat.
While the longevity of their decisions cannot be ascertained, she has said that the important thing is that they started asking questions and had different perspectives of reality.

It is for this reason that you can often find Bazterrica reading dystopian novels such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “Fahrenheit 451” or “1984.” These are works in which the oppressors prohibit and destroy books and change language just as it is happening in many countries today.

She found some inspiration from the dictatorships of Franco in Spain as well as in her home country Argentina. These dictators burned and censored books to ensure that the oppressed accept the reality the oppressors want to establish.

As such, in most of her novels she intends to make people question things by asking questions such as should we really eat meat?

Agustina Bazterrica’s novel “Tender is the Flesh” is not a book for the tender-hearted given the cannibalistic themes. The lead in the novel is Marcos Tejo, a man that runs a meat processing plant that packages human flesh.

Things have become very dystopian following the outbreak of a virus that had made animal flesh inedible. Since there are many humans who cannot live without meat, they decide to start eating other humans in a special and strange form of cannibalism.

Meanwhile, the pets have gone missing and humans have now been categorized into those that kill and eat other humans and those that are killed and eaten.
However, there is also another significant difference among humans: those that have had their vocal cords cut and cannot talk who are the ones that are eaten and those that can talk. The eaters reason that if their victims cannot talk they are not human.

Marcos Tejo is a tired and sad man whose only child died a few years after the collapse of his marriage. He also happens to have an old father whose health has been fading for several years.

Things change when Marcos is offered a woman of excellent quality and she changes his whole perspective on life.

What is so great about the story is that the lead behaves like a real person who is afraid, doubts, shows weakness and questions the system that he has to live in.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Agustina Bazterrica

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