Pig Did It

The Pig Did It

by Joseph Caldwell

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is The Pig Did It by Joseph Caldwell.

Now, the Pig did not appear on my desk out of the blue. This book came to me in a different way than most do. Usually I get a big manila envelope and sometimes a note from the publisher or agent telling me I need to clear my calendar and read this immediately, and also go to the author’s blog, web site and fan club pages. Then if the writer is thought to be a hot property, I’ll get a series of increasingly frantic emails from the publishers or agents reminding me that the author is going to be featured in the Rockville Centre Examiner Sunday supplement, and I had better get on board. There are sometimes threats. Sometimes tears. Seriously, publishing is no place for sissies. I try to turn down the volume on the hype and I almost never agree to an interview before I’ve read the book. I’ve made that mistake once or twice and I almost always regret it. (No link, I’ll leave you to figure it out for yourselves.)

So why are Joseph Caldwell and the story of the Pig different? Well, to begin with he’s an enormously well respected novelist of some very serious and heavy drama and he doesn’t need to do my little show. Secondly, he’s a dear friend of one of my best friends — Hi Michael! — and Michael wouldn’t have given me The Pig Did It if he didn’t love it. Also, Joe Caldwell doesn’t have a computer. He types his manuscripts on a typewriter. Remember those? No web site, no email, no blog, no publicity machine. Just clever, sharp, beautiful prose. The Pig Did It was a departure for Joe Caldwell, as he’ll tell us, because he set out to write comedy. The setting — the Irish coastline and the people who live there — are in themselves not funny of course, but he mines such humor, humanity, and general bizarre behavior from his characters — and from the Pig — that I went over some pages several times just to look at all those wonderful words.

The Pig Did It follows lovelorn Aaron from America to his childhood home on the wild Western shore of Ireland. Aaron has some very specific plans: he’ll shove his hands in his pockets and walk along the rocky beach. The surf will roar (at a safe distance) and he’ll marinate in his own heartbreak, as the locals cluck and shake their heads, marveling at the magnificence of his grief. Guess what doesn’t happen? The first thing that does happens to Aaron is getting run off the road by a wayward band of pigs, one of whom wastes no time in taking Aaron on as a special case, and like Mary’s lamb it follows him home. There’s a murder mystery (the pig was certainly somehow involved) and at least two love stories, but the great love in this book is between the author and the words.

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