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Carnivorous Lamb Paperback – 18 Mar 1994

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Gay Men's Press; 1st thus edition (18 Mar 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0854490191
  • ISBN-13: 978-0854490196
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.2 x 19 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 822,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Cerisaye on 11 Nov 2005
Format: Paperback
THE CARNIVOROUS LAMB by Augustin Gomez-Arcos
This wasn't an easy book. I was able to put it down for days, yet I
needed to know the outcome, wanted it to be a happy one.
At the beginning we know nothing about narrator Ignacio only that
he's arrived in Spain to await the arrival of brother, Antonio, who
he hasn't seen for several years. First he makes the bed in their
old room then bathes repeatedly in the soap their mother always
used, a scent redolent of Antonio. As Ignacio tells his story
recalling the past and his strange family gradually we understand
why he wants Antonio home so badly, his absence a major presence in
a story of longing and passion.
It is 1975. As Ignacio describes his peculiar childhood shut in the
house with only brother, parents and family servant for company, the
story becomes a meditation on love and loss, hope and despair.
Ignacio hated his mother who ignored his existence, silent and
indifferent since he refused to open his eyes for 16 days after he
was born and then only to look at his older brother. His father
retired to his study a defeated man, an invisible presence in the
It's a love letter from Ignacio to Antonio. Though the relationship
is incestuous, it's described so beautifully I didn't question the
morality. The sex is explicit but tasteful, literary erotica. You
never feel Antonio exploits Ignacio; the boy is in control. Their
intimacy is tender and affectionate as well as something intensely
The mother knows what's going on, and the father's isolation is
disturbed when it comes to his attention.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Richard M. Price on 11 Jan 2013
Format: Paperback
The name of Agustin Gomez-Arcos is kept alive in the English-speaking world by this his first novel (written in 1974), which offers a glowingly, startlingly, sympathetic treatment of a passionate affair between two young brothers. The author chose this taboo topic as an expression of his own anarchism and antinomianism, his belief that how we lead our lives need not be dictated by accidents of gender or culture. Commentators have concentrated on the book's politics. The boys belong to a republican family, allowed to survive in Franco's Spain, but cut off from the society around them and emotionally traumatized. The boys' decision to turn their back both on the society around them and on their parents as well is at once a sexual, a social and a political gesture, a refusal by the up-and-coming generation to identify themselves with either the victors or the vanquished of the Spanish Civil War. Yet their mother is the most revealing character in the book, in her inability to extend not just toleration but love towards her sons, and in her self-awareness and self-contempt; for the author she personifies the torpor and negativity that he perceived in late Francoist Spain.

The novel is focussed on the younger brother, who is also the narrator. Rejected and ignored by his parents from birth, he is adopted and coddled by his elder brother, in a way that does not equip him for life outside, when at the age of thirteen he belatedly starts his schooling. His relationship with his brother also deteriorates, and when the latter goes abroad and gets married he is left with absolutely nothing. The author contrives a happy ending, but it cuts less deep than the younger brother's previous desolation.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 19 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
a perfect book 22 Jun 2005
By Suzanne Bourchier - Published on
Format: Paperback
Its been a while since reading a book that was so profoundly satisfying and well-finished. It is a beautiful book celebrating an exuberant, deep love. It sells the book short to call it simply homo-erotic, just because the main protaganist is a man who loves his brother. The book deals with love and its devastating mutations in a protective confined stultyfying Spanish home in the Franco years. The metaphors for the "chronically dead" fascist regime are so graphic that you find yourself gasping for air...and the characters, as portrayed by Ignacio, the younger brother, are gruesomely real as he tells his story with wit and skill that have you smiling hard as you read. Very sexy too, even for a hetero woman.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
magic realism? 8 Oct 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Carnivorous Lamb unfolds itself like a particularly lovely, intricate, and satisfying dream. Things that at first appear to be matter-of-fact reveal themselves to be larger metaphors for politics, philosophy, social atmospheres, and religion, in prose both decadent and surreal. At heart this is a love story: love between brothers, literally and figuratively.
One of my favorites. :)
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Love, freedom and politics: loaded book! 11 Jan 2002
By Rils - Published on
Format: Paperback
Augustin Gomez Arcos makes several political statements on the appearance of a love story.
At first, everything looks wrong: incestuous love, uncaring parents...
Then the colors appear: red - yellow - red...
Yellow is the color of the church and the military 'dictatura'
Red is the one for Revolution, with defeated freedom dreams.
Augustin plays his colors with a very fine hand. Self-exhiled from Spain, he writes in French as a first statement against Franco. The love story will move you, but still the surface of it may repel the puritan in you. And those two colours will haunt you until you finish this book... But you have to restrain yourself... if you still want some for tomorrow...
My only complain is the translation: the original text is so beautiful and yet it's been translated into slang... Hum, if you understand two words of french, that would be a good twisted training book- and it's not 'out of print' over there!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A true lesson about Freedom 15 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is about love, but not in the conventional sense of the term... It is about the freedom to love, without boundaries, without judgement... Reader, do not open this book if you are ready to judge. But if you learn its lesson, you will hear the truth that will make you feel alive: that Love only starts beyond any boundaries. An undiscovered masterpiece.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Pure, captivating emotion held weakly in a husk of words. 27 Jun 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am so sorry this book had to end, but from it, one can learn so much about one's self. Through the watchful eye of society and ubiquitous religion, comes harsh criticism and the definition of "right" and "wrong". From this, most are cheated the opportunity to live. Only the purest form of "love" (however that may be defined) uninhibited, with no boundaries or explanation can overcome such criminality. We all want to be loved freely as this...Where are you today Gomez-Arcos?
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