Sometimes, a book is enough to make you drop everything (including your turkey sandwich) and go vegan. Most of the time, that book is an inspiring nonfiction tome like Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer or Skinny Bitch by Kim Barnouin.

Now, a recently-released fiction book is transforming readers into vegans. Tender Is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica, translated from the Spanish by Sarah Moses, is making waves by forcing readers to rethink their carnivorous diets in the most dramatic of ways: Imagining a world in which slaughtering humans for meat is the norm.

Tender is The Flesh by by Agustina María Bazterrica
Tender is The Flesh by by Agustina María Bazterrica

In a timely parable given the current coronavirus pandemic, after animals become infected with a virus and their meat is rendered poisonous, governments legalize human meat for consumption. Hearing the premise of the book alone is likely enough to make your stomach turn and as you get to know Marcos, who works at a human slaughterhouse you’ll be appalled and captivated by this tale of “special meat.” Written by Argentinian writer Agustina Bazterrica, the chilling book has already had TV rights optioned. The rights for the book have been sold in nine languages.

As BBC reports, the author herself is vegan, having made the shift after watching the terrifying 2005 documentary Earthlings. Now, readers of Bazterrica’s book are telling the author that it’s completely turned them off meat for good. As Elizabeth Sulis Kim points out in her BBC article, perhaps comedian and writer Simon Amstell, who also went vegan after watching Earthlings, has best elucidated this paradigm shift in vegan perception: “We are not vegans,” says the character Troye King Jones in Amstell’s 2017 Carnage film, “they are carnists.”

Even as the plant-based movement continues to grow, we all know that one person where the delicious recipes and endless vegan Cinnabon photos don’t seem to do the trick. We’ve got a sneaking suspicion this book might just make them abandon animal products—cold turkey.

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