Pink Slime

Scribner. Jul. 2024. 240p. ISBN 9781668049778. $24. HORROR
“I cannot stop a future that has already arrived,” says the unnamed narrator of Trías’s eerily calm tale about an environmental apocalypse. Told in a conversational yet purposely discomfiting future subjunctive tense, the novel recounts the slow breakdown of society after deadly algae washed ashore, killed all the fish, and made other living creatures sick when the wind blew off the sea. Now the only safe food for humans is the ultra-processed “pink slime” of the title. The narrator visits her mother and her hospital-bound ex-husband, who is one of the few humans able to tolerate infection. She also cares for a young boy with a horrific medical syndrome, whose rich parents need a break from his insatiable hunger. A compelling tale with an unhurried pace that is striking for how it juxtaposes lyricism with banality.
VERDICT With her eerie and unnervingly probable plot, strong narrative voice, and focus on the small, beautiful moments of life amid disaster, Trías’s (The Rooftop) tale will continue to haunt readers long after they turn the final page. Pair it with other thoughtful and subtle horror stories such as Sealed by Naomi Booth or Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin.
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