Tuesday, February 04, 2020

Reader's Diary #2130- Johanna Stoberock: Pigs

Recently I read Yoko Ogawa's The Memory Police and while I enjoyed it, I'd be reluctant to recommend it, assuming that the vague nature of its theme(s) would prove too frustrating for too many people.

Johanna Stoberock's Pigs has a similar parable sort of vibe and the ending comes with many questions remaining. However, it's faster paced and most themes are at more accessible, so I think it'd be a safer recommendation.

In a nutshell, there's a small group of kids stranded on an island with a herd of pigs. But not just any pigs, garbage eating pigs which comes in handy because this is where the world's garbage washes up. They're miracle pigs though, able to eat anything including metal, glass, and even toxic waste, with no ill effects. However, there's also a group of adults on the island who are selfish and shallow and dangerous.

Pigs and islands and kids likely allude to Lord of the Flies, but this book has more of an environmental message. I believe that they're kids may represent the way most people if richer countries view the people of "third world" countries without giving much thought to how our capitalism and pollution affects people there. There's another broken adult who comes to live with them and I think he may represent those that visit such countries with "white saviour" complexes (and fail miserably). Perhaps the adults already on the on the line represent those that, while are more aware of such countries, only see them as another resource to exploit. Not sure what the pigs themselves represent though. There's definitely a message about tipping points in there as well. But with all this talk about representation and possible symbolism, it could make for a great book club selection.

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