Reviewed by Renée Bosman, Reference Librarian for Government and Public Affairs
Pigs in Heaven tells the story of Taylor Greer and her adopted Cherokee daughter, who flee their Tucson home after a lawyer from the Cherokee Nation shows up on their doorstep claiming that Turtle's adoption is invalid and that she may need to return to the tribe. Although you may recognize these characters from Kingsolver's The Bean Trees, Pigs in Heaven is not a sequel and can be read independent of the earlier novel. It addresses some interesting issues, such as the balance between the rights of an individual and the sacrifices made for the sake of the community. Does Turtle rightfully belong with the only mother she has known for the past three years, or with Cherokee relatives who will instill in her the knowledge of her heritage and their identity? Kingsolver is aware that there are no easy answers, and one can detect a sense of the compassion and empathy that she has for all of the characters, in whom she creates the ability to see the issue in shades of gray.
The writing is lovely, as one would expect from Kingsolver, although I personally found some of the coincidences and the ending a bit too convenient. While it is still an enjoyable and worthwhile read, I would recommend some of her other novels — particularly Prodigal Summer and Animal Dreams — as better introductions to Kingsolver's work.