My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kynthos-the-Archer by: Curiosity got the better of me.
Recommended for: Die-hard horror fans
Read from June 09 to 16, 2014 — I own a copy, read count: 1
5 Stars for this Gloriously Depraved and Shockingly Disturbing Horror Fiction
MEAT was set in a dystopian world where veganism is blasphemous and punishable by gruesome death. Richard Shanti, a top cattle stunning stockman proudly known as 'Ice Pick' was a legendary figure in Abyrne. No one would have thought he would be risking not only his life but his family's as well for denying meat as his sustenance. Shanti was torn between protecting his family and appeasing his tumultuous conscience that is killing him slowly each day.
Abyrne is a small town surrounded by wasteland and it is the only piece of land left habitable post apocalypse. Nothing survives outside the boundary of the town. There's no where to go but to obediently abide to the oppressive ruling of two power-players in control of the town's fate. One being the unyielding religious group preaching from the Book of Giving and the Gut Psalter, where the flesh of the Chosen is the gift from God, thereby rejecting meat is to denounce God's teaching. Magnus Meat Processing was they other tyrannical presence. MMP was own by Rory Magnus a vile and unscrupulous mobster businessman. Fundamentally it was a political tug-of-war between the corporate and the religious authorities. Both are power craze and just as ruthless as the other in subjugating Abyrne townsfolks.
Although the setting and atmosphere of this book is utmost violent and morbid, the message within was eye-opening, thought provoking and surprisingly benign. One would most certainly be more aware of how those juicy tender meat cuts came to be before they fry their next batch of steak. Something has to die yes, but in what manner and state of mind? Should one care about how much their steak suffer before ending up on the plate since we aren't talking about people here? Do animals not experience pain and fear just like us? Lots of questions of such nature would swirls around in your mind and suddenly McDonald's aren't as tempting as before. Then again I am no longer a heavy meat eater ever since some years back. Nowadays I am mainly on seafood and at times chicken when I feel the need. Well, losing a few teeth did helped.
While the message on animal rights and veganism is clear, it wasn't in any way preachy since D'Lacey wouldn't let his reader forget this is ultimately a horror science fiction story. The horror aspect of the book was so forefront and at full blast there is not a moment your skin would stop crawling or that your gut could stop churning. I am very impressed by D'Lacey's skills of inducing and maintaining fear. I have lost count of how many times I had to suppress my urge to regurgitate my stomach content from intensity of the mutilation and gore. Frankly the book elicits great deal of emotions from me -- I felt shocked, angry, sad, frustrated then scared shitless and lastly a little blood thirsty due to potent need to avenge the wronged and abused. My brain was pulverized, it was like being put through the meat grinder over and over again while still alive and kicking.
I could not forget one particular violent death scene of a certain townsfolk at the slaughterhouse which is now haunting me days and nights. Then another equally terrifying scene brought up an extremely unpleasant memory of a killing scene I have watched on video thanks to an overenthusiastic friend wanting to share her discovery. Till today I could not get that horrible image of that video out of my mind no matter how hard I tried. I guess it's true that some traumas goes deeper than we know. Like the touch of a hot branding iron searing flesh, forever marking me with its imprint. The extreme gory nature of MEAT did the same thing to me yet I am in awe of the author's no-holds-barred approach with the fear factor. D'Lacey does not pull any punches. It all connects with full impact.
I did not attempt to retell or summarize the story much because it would be a disservice to everyone. Therefore I am mainly sharing how I feel about it. Truthfully, MEAT is a book you would have to read for yourself to understand the ingenuity of it and to gain full undiluted experience from it I would advise against reading any reviews beforehand. Go into the story as uninformed as possible and let it knock down all or any reservations and prior perspectives you might have.
I was very surprised when I found out that MEAT was actually a debut novel of Joseph D'Lacey. It was unbelievably well written, curiously compelling and utterly bone-chilling. No wonder he had won the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer in 2009 thanks to this astounding book. I am unsure if I have the guts to watch the film adaptation of it which is now in the works, but I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book to everyone especially to die-hard horror fans. Fright-addicts would certainly adore it.
Care for some pork ribs, anyone?
‘God is supreme. The flesh is sacred.’
Author: Joseph D'Lacey
Publication Date: February 1st, 2008
Publisher: Beautiful Books
Genre: Horror Science Fiction
Type: Novel, approximately 106,522 words
Major characters: Richard Shanti (Ice Pick/Ice Pick Rick is the protagonist) / John Colins (the Messiah/Prophet) / Rory Magnus (Meat Baron) / Bob Torrance (MMP Chain Manager) / Greville Snipe (MMP Dairy Supervisor) / The Grand Bishop (Welfare/Religious Group) / Mary Simonson (Welfare/Religious Group) / Bruno (Meat Baron's Henchman)
Abyrne is a decaying town, trapped by an advancing wilderness. Its people depend on meat for survival. Meat is sanctified and precious, eaten with devout solemnity by everyone.But a handful of people suspect Abyrne is evil, rotten to its religious heart. They're prepared to sacrifice everything for the truth. What goes on in the meat processing plant? Where does meat really come from? The townsfolk are hungry. The townsfolk must be fed... You'll never look at meat in the same way again.
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* Reviewed on June 18th, 2014