cover image Pig’s Foot

Pig’s Foot

Carlos Acosta, trans. from the Spanish by Frank Wynne. Bloomsbury, $26 (352p) ISBN 978-1-62040-081-4

Acclaimed Cuban-born dancer Acosta’s debut novel, following his memoir No Way Home, imaginatively records the history of one small, mythical town and its colorful inhabitants, evoking Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. The novel is narrated by Oscar Mandinga, who was born in a hamlet found on no map, “a place called Pig’s Foot–Pata de Puerco.” He tells of the town’s founding by two friends, his great-grandfather Oscar and Jose, who rise out of slavery together. They marry sisters Malena and Betina, respectively, beginning the unraveling thread of ancestry which provides the novel with its stories; of moms who die in childbirth and dads who commit suicide in solidarity; sons raised by false fathers; and brothers falling in love with sisters. Along the way, the narrator’s father, Malecio, a precociously gifted architect as a young man, travels the world and invents the Art Deco style. When the story winds its way back to the present, it turns in on itself, and suggests that after the magic must follow the realism. Not simply a fable, yet unfettered by facts, Acosta’s novel affirms with engaging force that truth lies in storytelling. Agent: Felicity Bryan, Felicity Bryan Associates. (Jan.)