Cow is the story of a Spanish agricultural labourer, Ambrosio, who goes to Switzerland as a Gastarbeiter. He is bound for Innenwald, a village in the Swiss highlands, and the novel begins as he is about to spend a summer working for Farmer Knuchel. It ends in the abattoir of the neighbouring city, at the end of the seven hard years of labour that have destroyed him. There he sees Blosch, the once magnificent lead cow on Knuchel's farm, now a sad, condemned creature in the abattoir.
Cow was acclaimed as a contemporary classic on first publication. Now more than ever it must be read as a book of archaic power about man, his work and his food and, most importantly, as a damning indictment of the relationship between man and the animal world.
Head of Zeus, an Apollo book * Fiction
08 Feb 2018 * 432pp * £16.99 * 9781786697462
'A memorable and great fiction'
'An important stir-casting first novel [with a] gentle, lyrical flavour'
London Review of Books
'An original, powerful, important novel'
'It is both captivating and mesmerising ... Its pathos and meaning demand to be read and paid attention to in a world where food has never been more political'
'Cow’s timely republication enables this intensely Swiss novel to address seriously today's global concerns with migration, ecological sustainability and the ethical treatment of animals ... It is a monumental and unmissable landmark in Swiss literature'
'The pages have almost a bovine whiff to them, so immersed are you in the world of Swiss dairy farming'
Beat Sterchi is a Swiss teacher and author based in Berne.