The Carnivorous Lamb – Augustin Gomez-Arcos

I saw a man on the metro reading a book a few months ago. He had a dark green velvet coat, dark brown velvet trousers, a burgundy bag and a fake flower in his buttonhole. His hair was scrawny and he was reading “The Carnivorous Lamb” in English. I went home, looked it up, noticed that the plot was wound around Franco’s Spain and, being in a “I want to know everything about Franco” phase, ordered it.

It arrived and I took it with me to work. I started reading it and…well. Maybe I should have read more reviews.

The story is about a wealthy family living in Spain after the Civil War and before Franco’s death. The main character is born and, having a vaguely disturbed mother, turns to his elder brother for affection. Who is only happy to repay in kind…and some. Yes, they are two brothers and yes, there is incest. Not only physical but psychological, too. I am not prejudiced against homosexuality but this book is taking everything slightly too far. I understand that the whole book might have been a metaphor of the political and social situation in Spain, but really it was not my taste. A clear statement against Franco, against the Church, against any kind of police, it was a well-written, easy albeit not pleasant read. Do I recommend it? No, not really.

Sheep at dusk, Evora, Portugal. Photo by Moi.

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