Pyg: Book summary and reviews of Pyg by Russell Potter

Pyg

The Memoirs of Toby, the Learned Pig

By Russell Potter

Pyg
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2012,
    288 pages.

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Book Summary

Blending the sophisticated satire of Jonathan Swift with the charming exuberance of a Pixar film, Pyg tells the story of Toby, a truly exceptional pig who lived in late eighteenth-century England. After winning the blue ribbon at the Salford Livestock Fair and escaping the butcher's knife, Toby tours the country, wowing circus audiences with his abilities to count, spell, and even read the minds of ladies (but only with their permission, of course). He goes on to study at Oxford and Edinburgh - encountering such luminaries as Samuel Johnson, Robert Burns, and William Blake - before finally writing his own life story. Quirky, beguiling, and endlessly entertaining, this memoir of a "remarkable sapient pig" is a sharp and witty delight.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The use of old-fashioned typography, capitalization, and woodcuts complement the 18th-century prose style, creating an immensely readable, clever, and fun novel." - Publishers Weekly

"This is an Oxbridge pig; you might dub him an oinktellectual, a rational, shrewd observer of flawed humanity. Toby shines light on our human qualities, lending due distance to how we might view them: our capacity for loyalty, friendship, all the deadly sins, curiosity, fear of death, vulnerability and a yearning for recognition, whatever our worth. It is the most ordinary of tales, made extraordinary not by the 'freakishness' of its 'author' but by the humanity. Which is what captivates and touches, and makes the book worth reading." - The Scotsman (UK)

"In prose that manages to be both dense and arch, Toby relates his escape from the butcher's knife with the help of his friend Sam... all good clean fun." - The Times (London)

"Written in a delightfully erudite, faux early 19th century prose... a multi-layered, rumbustious romp which the author pulls off cum laude." - The Observer (London)

"A delicious book. A reminder of the risks, the drama and the quite extraordinary comedy of being born with a snout, four hooves, and a corkscrew tail." - Marie Darrieussecq, author of Pig Tales

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Russell Potter is a professor of English at Rhode Island College. Pyg is his first novel. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

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