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, ...Show synopsisWhen 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 envelops not only Turtle and her mother, Taylor, but everyone else who touches their lives in a complex web connecting their future with their past. Pigs in Heaven travels the roads from rural Kentucky and the urban Southwest to Heaven, Oklahoma, and the Cherokee Nation, testing the boundaries of family and the many separate truths about the ties that bind. It is a spellbinding novel of heartbreak and love.Hide synopsis
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I was really drawn into the story of Bean Trees so I'm glad Kingsolver wrote this follow-up and further developed what happened to Turtle as she grew up. I love her style of writing and didn't want the book to end (even though I wanted to see a resolution of Turtle's problems).
After reading this book, you'll add Taylor Greer and her mother Alice to your list of unforgettable literary characters. Barbara Kingsolver has created two women that appeal to the adventurer-homebody/lover-loner/warrior-coward in all of us who've ever loved someone, lost someone, taken a risk, made a wrong turn, or changed her mind.
Kingsolver begins this sequel-of-sorts to The Bean Trees with sixty-one-year-old Alice and her dissapointing late-in-life marriage. She finds her escape when her daughter Taylor faces the possibility of losing her adopted Cherokee daughter Turtle. These three generations of tough-and-tender females take to the open road, finding adventure, betrayal, and each other along the way. Alice's maternal wisdom, human compassion, and off-beat humor combined with Taylor's desperation, vulnerability, and cynicism strike a chord in the soul of every woman who's been a mother, longed to be a mother, or had a mother.
Few authors can create a bond between the reader and virtually every character in a novel, but Kingsolver manages to do just that. Each character is believable, but each one goes beyond mere believeability. The reader identifies or at least empathizes with, each character, which is no mean feat, because the characters are often at odds with one another. I couldn't take sides, which is not usually the case in a work of fiction.
Characters such as these deserve nothing less than a masterful plot, and Kingsolver delivers that, too. She seamlessly weaves the lives of the characters into and away from those of other characters, crossing state lines, legal boundaries, and familial limits without once disorienting the reader's sense of time or place. The events flow, the settings connect, friendships form, relationships evolve and adjust, and Taylor's situation deteriorates to its lowest point - all without mawkishness or artificiality. Even Taylor's desperate call to her mother breathes pathos without becoming either sappy or hollow. These are real-life characters involved with real-life issues, finding along the way some real-life truths: life isn't simple, answers don't come easy, and sometimes the world doesn't make sense.
One of the many amazing qualities of this book is that, in spite of the suffering, grief, and crises contained in its pages, it manages to emerge as a breath of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel, and a tribute to the indomitable spirit that we hope is within us all. Like the proverbial butterfly, or in this case, swine, we can find a paradise of sorts if we adjust our perspectives to allow the unexpected to enrich rather than devastate the life with which we've become comfortable.
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