This weekend, I took part in Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon. I didn’t read for the whole period, or for as long as I normally would, but I managed to finish three books totalling 797 pages.
I really enjoyed my chosen theme of indie publishers. It’s one that I’ve done before, and it allows for so much flexibility in what I read. That said, there was definitely some overlap in themes from the novels I read!
Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica
- Publisher: Pushkin Press
- Pages: 224
Everyone’s eating human meat. Would you?
It all happened so quickly. First, animals became infected with the virus and their meat became poisonous. Then governments initiated the Transition. Now, ‘special meat’ – human meat – is legal.
Marcos is in the business of slaughtering humans – only no one calls them that. He works with numbers, consignments, processing. One day, he’s given a gift to seal a deal: a specimen of the finest quality. He leaves her in his barn, tied up, a problem to be disposed of later.
But the specimen haunts Marcos. Her trembling body, her eyes that watch him, that seem to understand. And soon, he becomes tortured by what has been lost – and what might still be saved…
Barn 8 by Deb Olin Unferth
- Publisher: And Other Stories
- Pages: 297
One disaffected administrator, one disenchanted teenager, four hundred and twenty-one vegan extremists, sixty trucks, and nine hundred thousand grumpy layer hens awaiting liberation. In barns. Six barns. No, wait, seven. No, wait…
Two auditors for the US egg industry conceive a plot to liberate an entire egg farm’s worth of animals, with catastrophic results. This wildly inventive but utterly plausible novel about a heist of a very unusual kind swirls with a rich array of voices: a farmer’s daughter, hundreds of activists, a forest ranger who stumbles upon forty thousand hens, and a security guard abandoned for years on a farm. We glimpse the evolution of chickens twenty thousand years from now. We hear what hens think happens when they die.
And at the heart of this more-than-plucky novel lies the question: what constitutes meaningful action in a world so in need of change? With towering ingenuity, eviscerating wit, and unflappable passion, Barn 8 is a true rare breed, a comic-political drama, and a tour de force for our time.
The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith
- Publisher: Orenda Books
- Pages: 276
Swinging from South Africa to England: one woman’s hunt for her birth mother in an all-too-believable near future in which an antibiotic crisis has decimated the population. A prescient, thrilling debut.
Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.
Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.
Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.