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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Pigs in Heaven
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on 30 August 2017
Love her writing
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on 19 August 2017
Not quite the same calibre as Poisonwood Bible and rambled a bit.
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on 10 August 2017
Great story. You need to read 'The Bean Trees' first, as it is a sequel. I love barbara Kingsolver's books, I think i have read them all, and now i am starting to read them for a second time.
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on 29 August 2017
Yet another brilliant read from Barbara kingsolver
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on 8 December 2015
Excellent value for money.
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on 30 January 2013
Another eventful book by Kingsolver. It starts in some ways rather comically with Taylor, Turtle, Alice and Jax. In her attempt to do the right thing by another human Taylor unwittingly creates a situation where the blinkered vain tribal lawyer Fourkiller sets out to destroy this little family.
Fourkiller does nothing at all to bring justice to the tribe that allowed the abuse of one of their own children but instead drives the adoptive mother from her home with her daughter.
I am not sure what message Kingsolver was trying to give a racist message but that was the one I got.
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on 16 July 2003
Kingsolver is one of my favourite new discoveries. "The Poisonwood Bible" is so good it hurts, "The Prodigal Summer" oozes great characters and descriptions of both human and animal behaviour that take your breath away. Kingsolver still has her moments of brilliance in this novel; I wanted to copy out the description of Turtle's reaction to being in a plane and make everyone I know read it, but the whole is not as satisfying as many of her other works. "Pigs in Heaven" does not disappoint exactly, but the ironic, intelligent voice of Taylor Greer, which made "The Bean Trees" such a delight is missing, and with it goes much of the charm of the earlier work.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 May 2010
This is the sequel of the author's first novel, The Bean Trees. It is a technically more ambitious book - a bit too ambitious, in my opinion, and in places a bit too contrived. It is more intricate in structure than its predecessor; Kingsolver is slow to let us know who is who, and to reveal how different parts of the story fit together, and so it is harder work for the reader. The rich descriptions of plants and birds are still more heavily laden with symbolic meaning than in the earlier novel, and her similes, so rich and rewarding in the first novel, are almost over-rich and some even over the top in the sequel. (Two examples: her eyes felt `like worried wet marbles under the lids.' - `She feels the door of her back teeth closing'.) It is half as long again as its predecessor, and I thought it dragged quite a bit, with extended sub-plots and other matter that, though in themselves well-described, slow the main story up too much. So I did not find it quite as satisfying as I did The Bean Trees; but Kingsolver tells a great story, and there are again some lovely pieces of folksy dialogue: in particular, the sayings of Taylor's wonderful mother Alice and of her laid-back lover Jax are a real treat.

It is three years after the previous novel ended, when Taylor Greer had, under false pretences, secured adoption papers for Turtle, the little Cherokee girl who had been dumped on her by an unknown Indian woman and with whom she had bonded. This novel more or less opens with Turtle, now aged six, being instrumental in saving a life. The story is picked up by the Oprah Winfrey television show, and this is seen by Annawake Fourkiller, a young Cherokee lawyer in Oklahoma.

Annawake has been haunted since her childhood by the history of what had been done to the Cherokee Nation (deported to Oklahoma from their original homelands in the Southern Appalachians in 1838), and is still traumatized by the loss of a twin brother who as a child had been removed from his family and the Nation. She suspects that there was something wrong about the adoption, is angry that Turtle will in due course have problems with her identity, and is determined to have her returned to the warm embrace of her tribe (about whose history and customs we learn a lot in this novel.)

Geographically this novel covers much more than the last book did of the United States, each area's features vividly described: Kentucky, where Taylor had grown up; Oklahoma where she had picked up Turtle; and Arizona where she had settled. Now that she fears that Turtle may be taken from her, she flees Arizona, driving northwards with her without aiming at a clear destination. It's like a road-movie, as they move from state to state and having all sorts of encounters on the way until they end up, penniless, almost as far north in the US as possible, in Seattle.

Taylor's mother Alice is the white grand-daughter of a full-blooded Cherokee (and in The Bean Trees she had mentioned that if you are one-eighth or more Cherokee, the Nation accepts you as one of theirs.) She has a second cousin, Sugar Hornbuckle, in Oklahoma, who is married to a Cherokee. Alice seeks her out: perhaps Sugar can mediate between Taylor and the Cherokee Nation. Perhaps she even knows Annawake - and in this very close community she actually does.

A long way back in the novel there was a chapter, set in Jackson, Wyoming, in which we met Cash Stillwater, a sad Cherokee widower who had left Oklahoma after tragic events in his family. He was lonely there, and decided to return home. We then lose sight of him for many chapters; but we can guess that the tragic events involved Turtle.

I must not say more - except to say that Barbara Kingsolver knew what she was doing when, having given real names to all the other places in the book, she invented the name of the small Oklahoma town which is central to the story: Heaven, where, in the end, and against all the odds, the angels rejoice and perhaps, like this reader, may shed a tear or two of joy.
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on 26 October 1999
Although "Pigs in Heaven" follows on from Kingsolver's "The Bean Trees" it stands well on it's own. It's the kind of book which you can't put down; which leaves you wondering about its characters for a long time after you reach the end and which makes you question your own values. When Taylor's adopted daughter Turtle saves the life of a stranger, and gains fame through national television, people start asking questions about her origins. The book leads us through a torrent of questions about the fundamental priorities in life. It shows up essential cultural differences and forces us to think carefully about our assumptions. Which is more important - the individual or the community? Can a child be brought up happily and successfully in a family of a different culture and with no knowledge of her own? What makes family ties? But aside from all of this, "Pigs in heaven" is truly enjoyable and moving story which you will find it hard to tear yourself away from.
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on 14 November 2001
The story involves 3 generations of women, the mother, Alice, the daughter, Tyler, and Tyler's adopted Cherokee daughter, Turtle. As a consequence of appearing on a TV show because Turtle has saved someone's life, all their futures change. This is a brilliant book, not just for the story (which is excellent) but also for the additional information on the American Indian's history and present problems. A brilliant book - with the best ending you will ever read!
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