Nine-year-old Michael Tanner is shocked to discover that the adults are killing animals and that he has been eating their bodies. Having learned the truth from his grandfather on a visit to the countryside, when he returns to London he realises that his friend Sam ‘Piggy’ Norton – whose dream it is to have a farm and keep pigs – doesn’t know what he will have to do to the creatures he loves. But should Michael tell Piggy and break his heart? Or should he lie like the adults?
Ten years later and Michael is Mickey Moo, a youth who wants to believe that words and peaceful protest can end the slaughter, but an incident with hunt supporters stirs a desire for revenge and his questioning of the animal-rights movement’s dedication to non-violence. Older activists insist that if he responds in kind he will be little better than the hunters. He has a choice to make.
Middle-aged and disillusioned, Tanner reconsiders his life on a long-distance walk that takes him through the landscapes in which these incidents occurred. He is at a crossroads, his mind drawn to the farms and slaughterhouses, but he doesn’t want to be unhappy anymore. He needs to clear his head and conform, forget the animals and forget the past. But back in London he is taunted by the warped advertising of the meat and dairy industries, and some familiar insults return – smelly pig, dirty cow, chick-chick-chicken.
Dreams, visions and nightmares energise reality as Slaughterhouse Prayer confronts the cartoon depictions of those being abused. The story introduces Bunny and Brer Rabbit, Peter and Paul Pig, Daisy Moo Cow and a young bull called John, Little Mary Meek, and even jolly Farmer Giles. This is a world where human language is distorted to disguise the abuse of the defenceless and vulnerable. In Slaughterhouse Prayer, those responsible are challenged in a very direct way.
Paperback / 304 pages / 129(w)x198(d)mm.
“From one of the most inventive and brave writers around today, Slaughterhouse Prayer is a masterpiece in the tradition of Upton Sinclair and Victor Hugo.” Ben Richards
“A fiction that reveals many truths. Written from a compassionate place, it is sensitive, thoughtful, and there is nothing like it out there.” Benjamin Zephaniah
“A captive literary bolt through our collective consciousness. If Upton Sinclair had read the Upanishads…” 3:AM Magazine
“Intimidating, heart-rending, brilliant.” Steve Ignorant
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