rating: 5 of 5 stars
The funniest part about my adoration of Barbara Kingsolver is that my favorite book of hers is not The Poisonwood Bible. In fact, of the three books of hers I have read now, that is probably my least favorite. Prodigal Summer still probably ranks as my favorite, followed very closely by this one, Pigs in Heaven. My biggest disappointment upon finishing this novel occurred when I went back to the library to find another Kingsolver book and discovered that the only one they had was actually a prequel to this novel! I hadn't known The Bean Trees came first in the telling of these character's stories, and I was tremendously disappointed to find out that I already knew the story of The Bean Trees without having read it in Kingsolver's vivid, elegant prose.
What I love about her writing is that it is so beautiful without trying to be so. You get a stunning picture of southern and midwestern landscapes and a true sense of people's lifestyles and ethnicities without her, as an author, shoving these facts and descriptions in your face. Somehow, she blends them into the language so seamlessly and so convincingly that you end up feeling them rather than knowing them. This is the mark of a truly successful writer, as far as I am concerned. And the mark of a truly successful book is one in which I do not find myself wanting to edit as I read. That is not something she achieved with The Poisonwood Bible--I badly wanted to edit the ending of that novel--but Pigs in Heaven kept me page-turning relentlessly without one critique, in spite of my ability to predict the ending.
Now there was a real accomplishment, because I hate to predict endings. But somehow, Kingsolver and those pigs pulled it off. I look forward to her next novel.
View all my reviews.