End of an era

So we’re supposed to be finishing moving out tomorrow (Sunday), and there’s lots to do. We have ordered broadband in the flat, but it’ll take a few weeks, and I don’t even know has our phone line been fixed yet, to use dial-up, so my blog posts may be irregular for a bit.

147. Pigs in Heaven by Barbara Kingsolver

As I began to say last week, I’m thinking of The Bean Trees as a fairy tale, with this sequel as a critical retelling that becomes its own myth, and I amn’t really sure why they are taking me like that. The ongoing story is as plausible as most novels (and seems better researched than many), and the characters have their strengths and faults just like real people.

Perhaps it’s that the first book was very much the tale of one person (Taylor) and her successful quest to make a good life for herself. Sure, there were lots of other people involved, who helped and shaped her, and who she was able to help in turn, and this was necessarily Turtle’s story too, but the ending set us up for Happily Ever After. (I am trying not to spoil too much here, but it’s difficult when I’m trying to discuss the sequel.)

Pigs in Heaven is a broader book, which feels to me (although I know nothing about the author’s intent) like it wasn’t intended from the beginning, but that rather Kingsolver wrote The Bean Trees as Taylor’s story, with Turtle largely a cipher, but then realised the answer to the question of Turtle had not been a long term solution, and decided to write it.

Perhaps this also ties into Annawake Fourkiller’s reiterated point from the book, that whereas Taylor has an individual path and impact, Turtle, as Cherokee, is part of the Nation, and thus has ongoing (if dormant) ties to many people, sharing their story.


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