This tale of complicated family relationships is set in Grace, Arizona, home to populations of peacocks, Hispanics and Native Americans, which co-exist comfortably in this remote mining town.
Thirty-something Codi returns to Grace to take care of her father, Doc Homer, who’s self-diagnosed the early stages of Alzheimers. Her younger sister Hallie has recently left Tucson to put her agricultural skills to better use in Nicaragua where US-backed Contras are fighting the Sandinistas in the Nicaraguan Revolution.
Back “home”, Codi reconnects with her High School world – some of it happy, most of it not. A strong environmental / ecological strand weaves around her rekindled relationship with Loyd Peregrina, a Native American she knew in her teenage years.
As the story progresses, Grace slowly starts to find herself less of the outsider she always felt herself to be.
Taylor Greer and her adopted Cherokee daughter, Turtle, are on the run from Annawake Fourkiller, an attorney for the Cherokee Nation who is challenging Turtle’s adoption under the Indian Child Welfare Act.
As the Wikipedia page mentions, the book provides plenty of detail on the customs, history, and present living situation of the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. I knew nothing about any of these, and as well as illustrating all, Pigs in Heaven also provides food for thought on how opposing parties in a tug of love can both have the child’s best interests at heart.
One of Barbara Kingsolver’s earlier novels – and if you’ve enjoyed the later ones, there’s no reason not to enjoy this one too.
The consequences of climate change and society’s various responses to it are explored through the prism of an autumn / winter /spring in the Appalacians when millions of monarch butterflies arrive out of the blue. As events are narrated by Dellarobia Turnbow, on whose inlaws land the King Billies settle, we learn as much about life in rural mountain towns as we do about butterfly ecology and what this tells us about the existence and impact of global warming.
Long and a little slow/heavy going at times but ultimately very much worth the read.