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Pigs in Heaven : A Novel
by Barbara Kingsolver

Paperback - 436 pages (October 1999)
Harperperennial Library; ISBN: 006109868X

"Possessed of an extravagantly gifted narrative voice, Kingsolver blends a fierce and abiding moral vision with benevolent concise humor. Her medicine is meant for the head, the heart and the soul."

"We don't think of ourselves as having extended families. We look at you guys and think you have contracted families." - Annawake Fourkiller in Pigs in Heaven

Women on their own run in Alice's family. So thinks Alice Greer, sixty-one years old, as she is about to leave her second husband, Harland; and the novel appears to offer no argument against this. She, her daughter Taylor, and Taylor's informally adopted daughter, Turtle, all seem fated to lives uncomplicated by relationships with men. But simplicity is gone forever when Taylor and Turtle (who is Cherokee) appear on TV by a coincidence of fate, and come to the attention of Annawake Fourkiller, a lawyer for the Cherokee nation. Taylor finds herself in a conflict between her own and what she thinks of as Turtle's best interests, and those of the tribe. Citing the Indian Welfare Act, which states that all adoptions of Native American children must be authorized by their tribes, Annawake detrmines to try to invalidate Turtle's adoption. Meanwhile, fearing that she will lose her daughter, Taylor takes Turtle and flees Arizona, leaving behind her devoted boyfriend, Jax. Along the way to resolution of this seemingly irresolvable conflict, many lives are changed.

 

 

articles and reviews
June 27, 1993

And Baby Makes Two
By KAREN KARBO

Barbara Kingsolver's terrific new novel, "Pigs in Heaven," picks up where her highly acclaimed first novel, "The Bean Trees," left off. In this heart-twisting sequel, her feisty young heroine, Taylor Greer, is faced with the possibility of losing her 6-year-old daughter, Turtle. Taylor, an outspoken, self-professed hillbilly from Kentucky, had headed west to avoid the poverty and despair that were snagging her former schoolmates. Passing through Oklahoma, she was snagged instead by a child.

In the offhand way that can lead a person in a whole new direction, Taylor stopped at a bar on the edge of the Cherokee Nation; there, an Indian woman deposited a little girl on the front seat of Taylor's Volkswagen and promptly disappeared. The tiny, silent toddler, whom Taylor called Turtle for her fierce snapping-turtle grip, had been beaten and abused. Taylor kept on driving, and when the car broke down in southern Arizona, she decided just to stay put. Thus Taylor Greer became a single mother. [read more]

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