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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Novel
Following on from his international ballet dancing fame, film debut and autobiography, Carlos Acosta has expanded his repertoire by writing his first novel. The narrator is Oscar Mandinga. He recalls his grandfather's words, 'No man knows who he is until he knows his past, the history of his country'. Oscar is alone in the world, the last of his line. He wears an amulet...
Published 13 months ago by ACB(swansea)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I wanted so badly to like this book. I'd read reviews comparing Carlos Acosta's writing to that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is my favourite author. Needless to say, I was excited and later horribly disappointed when this book fell short for me.

It wasn't the writing style; Acosta's writing is fluid and unique with a very charismatic narrator. The narration...
Published 11 months ago by LondonS


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Novel, 3 Nov 2013
By 
ACB(swansea) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Pig's Foot (Hardcover)
Following on from his international ballet dancing fame, film debut and autobiography, Carlos Acosta has expanded his repertoire by writing his first novel. The narrator is Oscar Mandinga. He recalls his grandfather's words, 'No man knows who he is until he knows his past, the history of his country'. Oscar is alone in the world, the last of his line. He wears an amulet around his neck the name of which is pig's foot. Oscar sets out to find his ancestral home, a small village in the south-eastern corner of Cuba called Pata de Puerco which means Pig's Foot in Spanish. It consists of a collection of shacks smelling of coal and paraffin, surrounded by mud, mountains and mines. It is here he begins to learn the descent of his family, their activities, secrets and later indignities. He relates these within the context of the turbulent history of Cuba, tracing four generations of one family, effectively from the 1800's to modern day.

Acosta, through his protagonist narrator, takes on this difficult task with vivid descriptions of the village life of his ancestors, with graphically depicted violence and tragedy, in terms that at times seem exaggerated and passed down as folklore. His family later moved to Havana. This is incorporated with his genuine concern for Cuba's socio-political history; slavery, wars, independence, dictators and revolutions. Acosta writes with dramatic, fast-moving prose that can at times be beautiful, particularly when describing the Cuban landscape or the people he meets during his quest. There are some passages that seem inconsistent or out of place for the times (usually amusing), but overall this is a fascinating, imaginative debut novel, full of well-drawn characters, that takes the reader through Oscar's tale in search of the truth. It is open to interpretation how much of this comes out in the story. Acosta's talent and enthusiasm for writing are sometimes breath-taking, always interesting and full of promise of things to come. Enjoyable. Translation by Frank Wynne.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 10 Jan 2014
This review is from: Pig's Foot (Kindle Edition)
I wanted so badly to like this book. I'd read reviews comparing Carlos Acosta's writing to that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is my favourite author. Needless to say, I was excited and later horribly disappointed when this book fell short for me.

It wasn't the writing style; Acosta's writing is fluid and unique with a very charismatic narrator. The narration of Pig's Foot was one of my favourite bits of the book and most of the reason I gave it two stars instead of one.

The setting wasn't the problem either. I read a lot of South American and Hispanic literature so it wasn't that I couldn't relate or understand where or even when the story was taking place.

I think my biggest problem came 1/3 of the way in when I found myself asking, "What's the point? Why do I care about this story and these people?" I felt no compulsion to keep turning pages and I didn't really feel involved in the book as I felt I should have. I simply didn't care about the characters or about how the whole thing ended.. and that included the weak plot twist.

Looking at other reviews, I'm relieved to see that I'm not alone. This is one book you'll either love emphatically or strongly dislike. Sadly, I'm in the second camp.
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2.0 out of 5 stars one for Garcia Marquez fans only., 9 Dec 2014
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This review is from: Pig's Foot (Kindle Edition)
I read this for my bookclub and, whilst a refreshing chance to read something I would not be inclined towards, I didn't enjoy it. I am not a fan of Garcia Marquez of Borges, or any of those 'big' SA literary types,which I think Acosta is trying to emulate. The story is a typical family-generational epic, but for me, that just doesn't work. I had to try too hard to care for the characters, and to track their evolution and growth.

I found the prose overstuffed and sentences too cloying to make this a light read, although I will say some of the characters are rendered with a certain fondness and a gentle aura. The book presupposes some knowledge of Cuban history, but if you do have a connection to the region, you may like it.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, not great, 29 Oct 2013
This review is from: Pig's Foot (Hardcover)
I was dazzled into buying Pig's Foot when I saw the dashing Mr Costa in conversation, it's a good ploy from his team and it works because the book doesn't stand up on its own.

The story is charming enough, it's clear that the author would like to be able to write magic realism as well as Allende or Mrrquez do, but it doesn't come off. There is no depth or soul to the characters they are more caricatures and the conspiratorial "let me tell you" narrator comes across as heavy handed.

In his defence Acosta in conversation admitted that he does not imagine he is a great novelist rather that he wanted to try his hand at telling a story. So he is quite right, he is not a great novelist but he tells a decent enough story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Ancestry and destiny, 26 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Pig's Foot (Hardcover)
Acosta joins the illustrious ranks of Latin American magical realist writers, encompassing sexual, social and racial politics as well as his personal quest for 'home' in a moving allegorical autobiography.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Pigs Foot, 13 April 2014
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This review is from: Pig's Foot (Hardcover)
A bit of a let down. I did enjoy it and love the history of Cuba and the characters. But it did not completely work for me.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 8 April 2014
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This review is from: Pig's Foot (Kindle Edition)
Good read although somewhat quirky but really enjoyable. Would recommend it and will consider reading any of his other books
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well written magical realism - just not for me, 26 Mar 2014
By 
BookWorm "BookWorm" (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Pig's Foot (Kindle Edition)
Reading 'Pig's Foot' I was strongly reminded of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 'One Hundred Years of Solitude'. There are many elements in common - a lush, jungle setting, a family saga style tale full of eccentric characters, and a hefty dose of magical realism. 'Pig's Foot' is an easy read and is very well translated without any awkward passages to give it away - I didn't actually realise it was written in a language other than English originally. It has a bizarre twist at the end which I wasn't sure about, but I have to admit I likewise didn't see coming.

'Pig's Foot' is the tale of a small community founded mainly by two former slaves, the ancestors of the narrator. It contains both bizarre and realistic elements - hence the 'magical realism' label. It's not a genre I particularly like because you're never quite sure where you stand, so to speak. For those who enjoy this style though - for example, fans of Rushdie and Garcia Marquez - it is a great example of the genre and I'm sure will be enjoyed.

Even for someone who isn't too enamoured with the magical realist style, there are still things to enjoy in terms of the quality of writing and a story that retains pace and purpose. The characters are interesting, even if not believable in the literal sense of the word, and plenty happens. The descriptions are good, conjuring up a vivid, almost hallucinatory atmosphere that suits the style of the book very well.

I've given three stars, because I simply prefer a more linear and meaningful plot line and I like my reality and magic/fantasy firmly segregated in a novel. That's not a reflection on the quality of the writing though. I am sure that readers who like magical realism as a style, and don't prefer plot-driven novels, will find this much more enjoyable than I did. I would highly recommend to anyone who likes Garcia Marquez or Rushdie, and to anyone with an interest in Latin America as it conjures up Cuba very well.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read but not quite up to my liking, 13 Feb 2014
This review is from: Pig's Foot (Hardcover)
Good but the twist at the end sort of ruined it for me. I much preferred the initial bit of the story which to my opinion had the potential of a great latin american epic style novel.
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5.0 out of 5 stars an excellent and gripping read, 15 Jan 2014
By 
P. A. Pearson - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Pig's Foot (Kindle Edition)
Written with great awareness of how to present the ebb and flow of dramatic tension, and full of South American magical realism
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Pig's Foot
Pig's Foot by Carlos Acosta (Hardcover - 30 Oct 2013)
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