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Pigs in Heaven Paperback – November 25, 2003

4.1 out of 5 stars 522 customer reviews

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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.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: HarpPeren (November 25, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060922532
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060922535
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (522 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback
Barbara Kingsolver has written a magnificent novel with the creation of Pigs in Heaven. Not only does she enable the reader to identify with each character, but she invites the reader to bask in the full beauty of the West. My favorite element that Kingsolver adds to her novel is that of relationships. Throughout the entire plot one concept remains strong: the relationships between women are beautifully orchestrated in an effort to connect each character. The characters of this novel are not one-dimensional; they are complex. Rarely in literature is an author able to accomplish such a feat. Through her extravagent plot, Kingsolver proves that these women are all connected by a common bond. The barriers of race and culture do not apply to the women's ability to ultimately understand one another. I was personally entranced by this novel. I often found it difficult to drag myself away from the plot. In the past four months, I have read the book twice. Each time I was amazed by Kingsolver's ability to formulate such meaningful and sincere characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in engaging themselves in a less-than-ordinary novel. The plot is superior to any that I have read in quite some time. I would go so far as to guarantee that two pages into the book, any reader will be drawn to the suspense that only the end can resolve.
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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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