Of Cattle and Men
Animals go mad and men die (accidentally and not) at a slaughterhouse in an impoverished, isolated corner of Brazil. In a landscape worthy of Cormac McCarthy, the river runs septic with blood. Edgar Wilson makes the sign of the cross on the forehead of a cow, then stuns it with a mallet.
He does this over and over again, as the stun operator at Senhor Milo's slaughterhouse: reliable, responsible, quietly dispatching cows and following orders, wherever that may take him. It's important to calm the cows, especially now that they seem so unsettled: they have begun to run in panic into walls and over cliffs. Bronco Gil, the foreman, thinks it's a jaguar or a wild boar.
Edgar Wilson has other suspicions. But what is certain is that there is something in this desolate corner of Brazil driving men, and animals, to murder and madness.
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Modern Fiction and Translated Fiction