John Hawkes is an extraordinary writer. I have always admired his books. They should be more widely read.
— Saul Bellow
No synopsis conveys the quality of this now famous novel about an hallucinated Germany in collapse after World War II. John Hawkes, in his search for a means to transcend outworn modes of fictional realism, has discovered a highly original technique for objectifying the perennial degradation of mankind within a context of fantasy… Nowhere has the nightmare of human terror and the deracinated sensibility been more concisely analyzed than in The Cannibal. Yet one is aware throughout that such analysis proceeds only in terms of a resolutely committed humanism.
— Hayden Carruth
The mixture of pity and exhilaration in the human condition is recreated with chilling authenticity by Hawkes. His is a search into the pit that stops at no amount of terrifying discovery. Admitting everything, rejecting nothing, Hawkes writes from a viewpoint held by few American authors.
— S. K. Oberbeck, Contemporary American Novelists