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The Carnivorous Lamb

The Carnivorous Lamb

By Agustin Gomez-Arcos
Introduction by Sharon G. Feldman
Categories: LGBTQ+, Gay Literature, Fiction
Series: Little Sister's Classics
Paperback : 9781551522302, 288 pages, 2007


The latest in the Little Sister's Classics series resurrecting gay and lesbian literary gems: a viciously funny, shocking yet ultimately moving 1975 novel, an allegory of Franco's Spain, about a young gay man coming of age with a mother who despises him, a father who ignores him, and a brother who loves him.

The novel is set in the 1950s, narrated by a 13-year-old who describes himself as a "carnivorous lamb"; an innocent who in truth is anything but. The youngest of two sons, he is kept sheltered at home by his overbearing mother until his thirteenth birthday, and disciplined by his tutor and the family priest so that he may follow the right path to adulthood. But he rebels against those who wish to contain him, and his turbulent rites of passage are veiled responses to a hateful mother, an indifferent father, and the authority of church and state. In this way, The Carnivorous Lamb is both an incisive family saga and an acerbic political satire.

The Carnivorous Lamb, originally written in French, won the Prix Hermes, and this, its 1984 English translation, was widely acclaimed.

This edition includes a new introduction by Sharon G. Feldman, professor of Spanish literature and is the author of Allegories of Dissent: The Theater of Agustin Gomez-Arcos, as well as an appendix of supplementary materials.


Gomez-Arcos not only takes on Spain but the Catholic Church as well. He does so with humor that disguises the true horror and tyrannical rule of Federico Franco. ... The concept of authority is blown away and in its place we get identity and liberty as the author defies all in beautiful and provocative ways. This is a book not only to be read for the excitement of reading a masterpiece but to be cherished as a document that has returned to us from the dead.
-Eureka Pride (Eureka Springs, Arkansas)

- Eureka Pride

Gomez-Arcos' prose, poetic but economical, is the perfect foil to his chosen subject. He writes beautifully of the boys' affair, fully aware of its illicitness. ... [It is] a book that is as politically charged and appropriate now as it was in 1975 when it was first published.
-Washington Blade

- Washington Blade

I had never heard of Agustin Gomez-Arcos' The Carnivorous Lamb before learning of this new translation of the book, but now I want to read all of his works. ... Delicious in its anarchist subversiveness, titillating in its blasphemous transgressions, incisive in its droll irony, The Carnivorous Lamb deserves a place in our libraries as a work of protest against the social and political conventions that circumscribe our lives.
-Gay & Lesbian Review

- Gay & Lesbian Review

Triumphant . .. provocative and carnal . .. An astute examination of a repressive political and religious environment's impact on moral judgment and behavior.
-Library Journal

- Library Journal

Haunting . .. unusual . .. Eerie yet amusing . .. Gomez-Arcos neatly satirizes Franco's Spain and the Roman Catholic Church and gets in a few pokes at America as well . .. refreshingly distinctive and engaging.
-New York Times Book Review

- New York Times Book Review