Trevor

a blog so you can keep with him

SBR 3: The Carnivorous Lamb

Howdy folks! I’m back from a few days in the wild blue yonder, and it was gorgeous. This morning I’ll be playing catch-up on my SBR reviews, and hopefully uploading a picture of the lake or two.

I’ve been reading Agustín Gómez-Arcos’ novel The Carnivorous Lamb on-off for most of this quarter. It parallels much of the thematic work encountered in my readings for class this quarter, though in a different vein. The novel is set in ’70s Spain, in the midst of the Franco regime. It follows a Republican family who remains silent and fragmented by the collapse of their dreams after the Civil War – the youngest son, our protagonist and narrator Ignacio, does not even venture from their home for much of his childhood. The book focuses on the romance between Ignacio and his older brother Antonio, and the intersections their incest has alongside the church, the family name, and society.

The book, written by Gómez-Arcos in exile in France (and originally in French), is bitterly humorous, creating and skewering hypocritical representations of Spanish institutions like the priesthood. The erotic tension and deep passion between brothers remains the only unmocked activity in the work, and produces a well of hope, that the brothers, a younger generation, are not lost to the despair their parents slowly drown in. The Carnivorous Lamb is about as brutal and elegantly written (and translated!) as coming-of-age stories can be, but the destination is much brighter than the journey.

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Filed under: Books

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