Book Jacket Synopsis: “When six-year-old Turtle Greer witnesses a freak accident at the Hoover Dam, her insistence on what she has seen and her mother’s belief in her lead to a man’s dramatic rescue. But Turtle’s moment of celebrity draws her into a conflict of historic proportions. The crisis quickly envelopes not only Turtle and her mother, Taylor, but everyone else who touches their lives in a complex web connecting their future with their past. A deeply felt novel of love despite the risks, of tearing apart and coming together, Pigs in Heaven travels the roads from rural Kentucky and the urban Southwest to Heaven, Oklahoma, and the Cherokee Nation. As this spellbinding novel unfolds, it draws the reader into a world of heartbreak and redeeming love, testing the boundaries of family and the many separate truths about the ties that bind. With Pigs in Heaven, Barbara Kingsolver has given us her wisest, most compelling work to date.”
Review: Once again, the strength and heart of Kingsolver’s writing is blindingly apparent in the characters and settings she creates. Everything feels authentic, from her descriptions of the passing scenery to the complicated emotions experienced by the many characters of this story. I love that Kingsolver is always able to tap into real, concrete issues with her writing (such as the many travesties committed against Native Americans, including the forcible removal of children from their communities). While I felt like The Bean Trees (the prequel) had some minor issues with plot weighting, Pigs in Heaven did an excellent job of providing just enough action to keep the reader invested, while still focusing a majority of the novel on the thoughts, feelings, and experiences of the main characters. I really have to commend Kingsolver on her success in carrying the reader with her throughout this novel. For example, when Anawake Fourkiller shows up at Taylor’s house and brings up the questionable circumstances surrounding Turtle’s adoption, I feel the exact same emotions as Taylor: anger, fear, protectiveness, panic. I applauded Taylor for jumping town with Turtle and rooted for her along the first legs of their road-trip. But as the novel progressed and I learned more about Anawake’s past and beliefs, the idea that Turtle should, in some way, be allowed to know her tribe started to feel more and more right. I won’t spoil the ending, but suffice to say that I really didn’t know how Kingsolver would resolve this book and am very happy with the ultimate direction she took.