The Thick and the Lean

Gallery: Saga. Apr. 2023. 384p. ISBN 9781668000199. $28.99. SF
Beatrice Bolano dreams of food. Tasting it, cooking it, eating it, and simply enjoying it. But she was born into a cult of “flesh martyrs” for whom the rejection of food’s pleasures is an offering to heaven. Reiko Rimando, a child of the lower-middle class, also wants better for herself. Both women escape from their origins in search of more in a world that will punish them every way it can for their temerity, in the name of a doctrine that is based entirely on a lie designed to subjugate them all. The science-fictional nature of their world is a thin screen for the book’s commentary on the fetishization of thinness, the repression of women’s desires, and the way that corporate greed and mass consumption culture intentionally turn women’s attention from their own self-actualization to false goals that demean and degrade their intelligence and their will.
VERDICT The two storylines in Porter’s (The Seep) latest, particularly Beatrice’s story of accepting herself for who she is and what she loves in spite of everything, will make readers hunger for more.
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