Pink Slime by Fernanda Trías (Translated from Spanish by Heather Cleary) - review by Patrick Graney

Patrick Graney

Hunger Games

Pink Slime


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In Fernanda Trías’s Pink Slime, a coastal city is ravaged by toxic algae and an accompanying ‘red wind’, creating an ecological wasteland. An epidemic soon takes root among the population as well. Through the chaos, a nameless protagonist gradually extricates herself from three relationships – with her mother, her ex-husband, Max, and Mauro, her foster child.

Upheaval is embedded in Trías’s prose, which travels freely between the past and the present day, shifting into the future tense at moments of heightened tension. Regular chapters are interspersed with anxious monologues: ‘So what if I leave? So what if you leave?’ And yet she holds the work together by maintaining thematic unity. Regular foodstuffs have become unavailable and the population is instead fed with a barely identifiable animal product, a factory-produced ‘pink slime’. As a counterpoint, Mauro suffers from Prader-Willi syndrome, which fixes his attention solely on food. The pink slime bears a suspiciously close resemblance to the red wind. Combined with the somewhat biblical plague – with its leprous victims – and dead fish washing up, it seems to offer evidence of a society gone wrong.

Pink Slime is both a successful portrait of societal gluttony and a bold exploration of the ambiguities

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