Review: The Cannibal’s Guide to Ethical Living

Like good satire, the Cannibal’s Guide makes you think while you laugh.  You’ll also cringe, and maybe even get a little hungry.  The narrator is Louis, a talented chef with some new ideas on the true meaning of the culinary arts.  Louis, like most artists and maniacs, believes that he has a revolutionary idea that will be undoubtedly valuable to mankind.  His new take on cuisine will change the world for the better and the answer, of course, is cannibalism.  But not just any cannibalism.  It is eating the wealthy that Louis believes to be the most humane and civilized method of feeding the world.


Louis was once a regular restaurateur, a chef trying to make it on his talents.  But he had a strange pallet for food, and in the fast-paced restaurant business he quickly learned the true nature of society’s rich.  Over the course of the novel, Louis explains how he and a few partners created a unique restaurant-at-sea, unfettered by international laws and free to serve rare meats to the rich few who could afford it.  Soon came the revelation to make the rich into the meat.  But over time the business went sour, and Louis is forced to present his theories while trying to escape certain doom.  His audience is Andre, a food critic he has taken hostage.  And while they try to escape, Louis takes the opportunity to feed Andre some of his best meals.  The twist is the way Louis describes his theory of cannibalism.  He presents it as the only ethical way for humans to eat in today’s modern world, and it makes sense in a brilliant and perverse way.  Louis describes millionaires as free-range livestock, whose existence should inevitably lead to their slaughter and consumption by the rest of the population.


The way Louis describes it brings to light certain truths few of us realize.  Mykle Hansen weaves a tangled web of economics, capitalism, and environmental destruction, where eating the wealthy is simply the way of the future.  Hansen has also done his research of the cooking world.  He uses culinary terminology like kitchen knives, and the character of Louis is always instilled with a real passion for the art of cooking, lending a sense of reality to Louis’ otherwise insane ramblings.  Fans of food will enjoy this book.  Fans of satire will enjoy it.  Anyone paying attention to the ills of the world will look at humanity’s absurd vices with laughter instead of anger.  And the next time you see a sleek arrogant millionaire walking down the street with a silver spoon in their mouth… just think about how good they’d taste with a little fromage.


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