Vanessa V. Friedman
May 02, 1997 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Pig Tales

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B+

A trim allegory for the fin de siecle, Marie Darrieussecq’s Pig Tales is the story of a young woman who works at a beauty shop called Perfumes Plus, actually a ”massage” parlor in disguise. When we meet our heroine-narrator, she is at the height of her youthful appeal, bursting and rosy; her customers multiply exponentially, drawn by her air of farmyard freshness. The young woman becomes more and more porcine, developing first a third teat and then a full sextet of them, which explode from her uniforms. As her literal metamorphosis from siren to sow continues, the world around her gets more and more farmlike too. Despairing, the young woman chooses her pig self over her human incarnation and flees to the woods. Cross Kafka with Orwell and you get the idea. B+

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