On the way to work this morning (one of the best times for unfettered thinking, along with showering, tooth-brushing, and cleaning the litter boxes), I realized there *has* been a recent book that effectively utilizes a cannibal character: one of the best books I’ve ever read, James Meek’s The People’s Act of Love.
Samarin is not a bone-through-the-nose colonial “savage” from the tropics, but he does represent what is beyond the fringe of civilization, and he is a flesh-eater. An escapee from an arctic prison camp known as The White Garden, Samarin stumbles into an occupied town in Siberia in 1919. In the first telling Samarin is not the eater but the potentially eaten, the “pig” that The Mohican, another prisoner, brings along to survive the escape across the frozen tundra.
Maybe Samarin escaped from the Mohican. Maybe the Mohican is hot on Samarin’s heels, bringing his ruthlessness to the village and murdering the old blind shaman. Maybe Samarin has made up the story of the Mohican. Maybe Samarin is the Mohican.
“First the old get eaten by the weak, then the weak get eaten by the strong, and then the strong get eaten by the clever.”