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Pigs in Heaven Paperback – November 25, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (November 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060922532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060922535
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (357 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #430,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Taylor Greer and her adopted Cherokee daughter Turtle, first met in The Bean Trees , will captivate readers anew in Kingsolver's assured and eloquent sequel, which mixes wit, wisdom and the expert skills of a born raconteur into a powerfully affecting narrative. Now six years old and still bearing psychological marks of the abuse that occured before she was rescued by Taylor, Turtle is discovered by formidable Indian lawyer Annawake Fourkiller, who insists that the child be returned to the Cherokee Nation. Taylor reacts by fleeing her Tucson home with Turtle to begin a precarious existence on the road; skirting the edge of poverty and despair, she eventually realizes that Turtle has become emotionally unmoored. In taking a fresh look at the Solomonic dilemma of choosing between two equally valid claims on a child's life, Kingsolver achieves the admirable feat of making the reader understand and sympathize with both sides of the controversy, as she contrasts Taylor's inalterable mother's love with Annawake's determination to save Turtle from the stigmatization she can expect from white society. The chronicle acquires depth and humor when Kingsolver integrates the story of Taylor's mother Alice, a woman who believes that the Greers are "doomed to be a family with no men in it" (that she is proven wrong adds a delicious element of romance to the story). Alice's resolve to help her daughter takes her into the heart of the Cherokee Nation and results in an astonishing but credible meshing of lives. In the end, both justice and compassion are served. Kingsolver's intelligent consideration of issues of family and culture--both in her evocation of Native American society and in her depiction of the plight of a single mother--brims with insight and empathy. Every page of this beautifully controlled narrative offers prose shimmering with imagery and honed to simple lyric intensity. In short, the delights of superior fiction can be experienced here. 100,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; BOMC alternate; author tour.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-When a young Cherokee tribal lawyer comes to the door to claim Taylor's illegally adopted Indian daughter, the white woman must face the fact that her stable life is about to be torn apart. The story follows her and six-year-old Turtle across the West as they flee from the threat of separation and exist on minimum-wage earnings. Meanwhile, Taylor's mother, Alice, leaves her second husband and goes to stay with her cousin in Heaven, Oklahoma. There she meets Cash, a full-blooded Cherokee, who has been living outside the reservation, but yearns to return to his roots. The richness of Indian tribal life is seen through the eyes of Cash, Alice, and Annawake Fourkiller, the lawyer. There are some wonderful scenes revealing Cherokee customs and lifestyles. The stories of the different characters are woven together with humor and sensitivity. When Taylor and Turtle come to the reservation to face their future, readers will feel the adoptive mother's helplessness as she admits that she, too, might have let the child down. The characters are ordinary, yet noble and memorable, and the ending is just and gratifying. The issue of Indian children being adopted outside the tribe is addressed with respect from all sides.
Penny Stevens, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Barbara Kingsolver was born in 1955 in Annapolis, Maryland, and grew up in rural Kentucky. She counts among her most important early influences: the Bookmobile, a large family vegetable garden, the surrounding fields and woods, and parents who were tolerant of nature study but intolerant of TV.
Beginning around the age of nine, Barbara kept a journal, wrote poems and stories, and entered every essay contest she ever heard about. Her first published work, "Why We Need a New Elementary School," included an account of how the school's ceiling fell and injured her teacher. The essay was printed in the local newspaper prior to a school-bond election; the school bond passed. For her efforts Barbara won a $25 savings bond, on which she expected to live comfortably in adulthood.
After high school graduation she left Kentucky to enter DePauw University on a piano scholarship. She transferred from the music school to the college of liberal arts because of her desire to study practically everything, and graduated with a degree in biology. She spent the late 1970's in Greece, France and England seeking her fortune, but had not found it by the time her work visa expired in 1979. She then moved to Tucson, Arizona, out of curiosity to see the American southwest, and eventually pursued graduate studies in evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. After graduate school she worked as a scientific writer for the University of Arizona before becoming a freelance journalist.
Kingsolver's short fiction and poetry began to be published during the mid-1980's, along with the articles she wrote regularly for regional and national periodicals. She wrote her first novel, The Bean Trees, entirely at night, in the abundant free time made available by chronic insomnia during pregnancy. Completed just before the birth of her first child, in March 1987, the novel was published by HarperCollins the following year with a modest first printing. Widespread critical acclaim and word-of-mouth support have kept the book continuously in print since then. The Bean Trees has now been adopted into the core curriculum of high school and college literature classes across the U.S., and has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
She has written eleven more books since then, including the novels Animal Dreams , Pigs in Heaven, The Poisonwood Bible, and Prodigal Summer ; a collection of short stories (Homeland ); poetry (Another America ); an oral history (Holding the Line ); two essay collections (High Tide in Tucson, Small Wonder ); a prose-poetry text accompanying the photography of Annie Griffiths Belt (Last Stand ); and most recently, her first full-length narrative non-fiction, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. She has contributed to dozens of literary anthologies, and her reviews and articles have appeared in most major U.S. newspapers and magazines. Her books have earned major literary awards at home and abroad, and in 2000 she received the National Humanities Medal, our nation's highest honor for service through the arts.
In 1997 Barbara established the Bellwether Prize, awarded in even-numbered years to a first novel that exemplifies outstanding literary quality and a commitment to literature as a tool for social change.
Barbara is the mother of two daughters, Camille and Lily, and is married to Steven Hopp, a professor of environmental sciences. In 2004, after more than 25 years in Tucson, Arizona, Barbara left the southwest to return to her native terrain. She now lives with her family on a farm in southwestern Virginia where they raise free-range chickens, turkeys, Icelandic sheep, and an enormous vegetable garden.

Customer Reviews

As always, Kingsolver tells a wonderful story, character driven and interesting to the end.
La Plume
It IS entertaining...it's just a little "too much" for me in terms of it's cheesy ending.
K. Kenner
I read a LOT, every day in fact, and to find a 'feel good' book to enjoy is "Heaven" to me.
Earthlings

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Ratmammy VINE VOICE on September 8, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
PIGS IN HEAVEN by Barbara Kingsolver
PIGS IN HEAVEN is the sequel to Barbara Kingsolver's book THE BEAN TREES. The novel continues the story of the Cherokee child named "Turtle" and her adoptive mother Taylor Greer. In this sequel, we find Turtle and Taylor living together in Tucson along with Taylor's boyfriend, a life that is not quite what would be called the most perfect of environments. They live in poverty, barely making ends meet. Although Taylor does her best, her income is limited, but she gives Turtle a lot of love, and along with her boyfriend, Turtle has a new family. Turtle seems happy, and after years of being mute due to a history of abuse, she's learned to talk, and all seems to be going well.
Unfortunately, Cherokee attorney Annawake Fourkiller accidentally discovers the existence of 6-year-old Turtle, and learns that Taylor had illegally adopted Turtle outside the Cherokee nation. Annawake is ready to rectify this problem. As far as she's concerned, Turtle needs to be raised by the Cherokee. Taylor, however, does not see this, and does what she can to protect her child.
Turtle and Taylor are now on the run, fleeing from their home in Tucson and leaving the boyfriend behind. They live from motel room to motel room, eating what they can afford. It gets to a point where Taylor does not know what to do next, in fear that she and Turtle will be discovered and eventually Turtle will be taken away from her. Yet, she wonders if what she is doing to Turtle is the right thing to do. When Alice Greer, Taylor's mother, gets involved, the story takes a surprising turn, and soon Turtle's biological family gets involved as well. I was glued to the book, wanting to know whether Taylor gets to keep Turtle, or is told to hand over the child to the Cherokee Nation.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Brett Benner VINE VOICE on November 4, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
First off I have to say that I think Barbara Kingsolver is a great writer. She writes with deep felt emotion and feeling, creating well rounded and fully realized characters that you care about.That being said I felt "Pigs in Heaven" was a bit of a disappointment. Revisiting the characters she introduced in "The Bean Trees",Kingsolver weaves the story around young Turtle's American Indian heritage and her adoptive mother's paternal claims on her.One of the things I didn't enjoy was that she moves the narrative from first person to third which seems to be a device to introduce an entirely new set of sympathetic voices to add to the custody conflict. And although I can understand why the choice was made, it still made me feel somewhat removed from Taylor, the central voice of the previous novel.To me the book felt like three separate stories that were tied together instead of one solid narrative.Ultimately the story raises some interesting points about race and family, managing to be both provoking and moving if not quite as sucessfully as it's predecessor.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
Common throughtout many fictional novels, the issues of family, love, and truth are all dealt with in Barbara Kingsolver's, "Pigs in Heaven". Unlike many other novels that either deal with one of these themes, or all of them sporadically, the events and themes throughout "Pigs in Heaven" are interconnected. This type of plot webbing makes the book much more intresting, allowing the reader to become involved with many different characters, instead of just one or two. When I began this required reading assignment, I was not instantly intrigued by the beginning. Actually, I wanted to throw the book away after the first chapter, because it did not grab my attention. I knew I had to read the book, so evry night I made myself read a chapter. By the third night I noticed that I could not put this book down. What I loved most about "Pigs in Heaven", where the characters. Barbara Kingsolver has a gift for making her characters painstakingly realistic. At times I felt like I was Taylor, trying to keep Turtle, or I was Jax, trying to keep a hold on my love. Sometimes, I was Annawake who was trying to preserve the culture of the Cherokee Nation. In "Pigs in Heaven", readers will have something in common with all of these characters, just as I did when I read this novel. The book provides a setting that is not mentioned enough in American Literature, the Cherokee Nation. It allowed me to look beyond the Indian identity that I was use to, where Indians wore feather and shot arrows, to the real life situations that happens on Cherokee reservations. "Pigs in Heaven" is a great book for when you just want to relax, and let the book become a part of you.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
Being a big fan of _The Bean Trees_, the blatant opportunity to get that "more" I was left wanting was irresistable. Did I like the book? Sure! Did I love it? Not exactly. The big mess that ensued cleaned itself up like an episode of "The Brady Bunch", and as nice and quaint as the romance between Alice and Cash was, it didn't thrill me. Taylor's constant fear of attachment to anyone but Turtle was simultaneously relatable and maddening. Annawake was given little chance to develop beyond one and a half dimensions, and all I want to say about Jax and Gundi is that I was left haunted by how simple infidelity can be. That scene made me fear for my then long-distance relationship, and I never quite liked Jax as much afterwards. The story itself was good enough, and as real as the characters all are, my appetite for their world was satiated.
However, I adore Kingsolver's style of writing. She really has a way of drawing me in with her stories, presenting characters who partake in political endeavors without seeming self-righteous, making me think about the world around me but still providing an enjoyable read. I would not recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read _The Bean Trees_, 99% of all men, or those who seek concrete realism in what they read. Kingsolver's storybook outlook on life is what makes me love her writing so much. I see no impossibility in living such an existence.
For the record: I do not find soaps entertaining, have never touched a romance novel, and never will. I still love Barbara Kingsolver's books. So there!
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