cover image Pig Tales

Pig Tales

Marie Darrieussecq. New Press, $18 (151pp) ISBN 978-1-56584-361-5

""I suspect that any publisher who agrees to take on this manuscript will be heading for trouble,"" admits the unnamed female narrator of this brash first novel, which is set in France in the not-too-distant future. The narrator works in a beauty/massage parlor and becomes distressed by her gradual transformation into a werepig. Much of this progression is documented by her increasing appetites for food and sex, but also by her ruddying complexion, narrowing eyes and the appearance of a corkscrewing tail. The world, too, seems to be transforming itself, as external events intrude on the narrator's life: revolutions, counterrevolutions, feasts, famines and epidemics. It all points, albeit vaguely, to a satire of French far-right politics. As for the protagonist, she suffers through perils but emerges, her naivete intact, essentially unbowed. The novel's 20-something author is a French schoolteacher with a sharp pen and a strong eye for quirk. Some of the ancillary characters, such as Yvan the aristocratic werewolf, pack a pizazzful punch, but Pig Tales keeps striking the same notes over and over: from the worship of flesh/meat on the bone to the constant porcine puns, this short book tires out much too fast. (May) FYI: Pig Tales is currently selling 3000 copies a day in France, and a film version, to be directed by Jean-Luc Godard, is in the works.