Patrick Kelly's Reviews > Cows

Cows by Matthew Stokoe
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's review
Nov 02, 10

This book has a stern warning on its back cover: WARNING. As a vegan, I think the message Stokoe is conveying here is an important one, though extremely dramatized and fantastical. The protagonist of the novel lives with his obese, incestuous mother and, in trying to break away from her, goes to work in a slaughterhouse. At the slaughterhouse, he sees all forms of torture and cruelty - men raping cows, cruel and sadistic methods of slaughtering. The tone of the novel is extremely dark, very graphic, but somehow beautifully written. The main character seems able to intuit what the cows are thinking, to speak with them, and he is compelled to help them. There are a lot of extreme situations that detract from the overall message of the novel, though. Dead babies and rape and such seem distracting - as if they were thrown in purely for shock value. Withholding those exceptions, the book is a great one I'd recommend to anyone who wants to see a brilliant and disturbing personal hell. I learned that, while shocking material can be poignant, there are boundaries one should remain aware of.

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