Barbara Kingsolver’s novel ‘PIGS IN HEAVEN’ (1993) is intriguing.
Initially there is something ‘Updike-like’ about Kingsolver’s prose – sharp ironic writing laced with humour. Early on – “Alice wonders if other women in the middle of the night have begun to resent their Formica.” Later – “You might see things better on television, but you’ll never know if you were alive or dead while you watched.” But, unlike Updike there is a sort of inevitability, a preordainedness, here that is quite different from the tension of the Rabbit books. It’s not a tragedy but rather a celebration of love over adversity.
The portrayal of the Cherokee Nation as a haven of familial support, love and joy makes no substantial reference to the impact of significant poverty and racism instead representing an ideal state of oneness in ‘Heaven’ that it would be a joy to be part of (some of the time).
The plot – no spoilers – resolves itself as if by magic – which is what it is – a ‘romance’ in which the best of all possible worlds comes about through (apparent) serendipity aligned with the scheming of Ms Annawake Fourkiller and the finger of god suggesting the inevitability of the victory of good over evil.
This novel feels good and there’s little harm in that right now in the midst of Brexit and the idiocy of Trump. Nothing wrong at all with love winning the day, but … the pain that has been suffered, the legacy of sadness, to get to that ideal ending is but chaff blown away, and almost forgotten, in a gentle breeze from the idyllic world of the Cherokee Nation in Heaven. But rock on – we could do with more of it! I enjoyed it.
You know what? I miss Lou Reed. God, I miss him. I miss the songs he would have written about Trump. Just listen to his album ‘New York’ (1989): it’s all there, just change the names, and the malevolent spectre of Trump lurks behind every wonderful lyric.
The two mountains, Mt Trump and Mt Putin, met in Helsinki because they wanted to be friends but they were afraid that their ‘bigness’, ‘strongness’, their ‘mountainess’, would impede this. Even so, two such eminences in the same place was scary like two dormant volcanoes suddenly blowing off at once and molten lava spilling out all over the place incinerating bad people amidst the most dreadful stink of burning flesh.
Mt Trump has big hair. Mt Putin has a bare chest when he rides horses and likes hand-to-hand fighting with men wearing white uniforms. Mt Trump has friends who also wear white uniforms and big white pointed hats even when it’s not Halloween. Mt Putin used to run the KGB but now he owns the FSB (which is not a sports car). Mt Trump is a serial liar, narcissist, misogynist, and racist and adores being a mountain. Mt Trump and Mt Putin have a lot in common. They are rich and elevated above us and we are grateful to live in their shadow.
Both the mountains are patriots. This is important. You can’t be a proper massif unless you are big enough to like war, hate the weak (aka bad), and find convenient victims on which to celebrate your mountainess. These victims can be found in places like Syria, México, the Ukraine and America as well as in mosques.
There has been a lot of trouble in the media about the relationship between the two mountains – this is a result of a misunderstanding, or fake news, as Mt Trump calls it. Mountains are mountains and therefore live on the high ground of their mountainess above the need for the oxygen that mere mortals crave. Sometimes Mt Trump miss-speaks but that’s only because his brain lacks oxygen.
When Mt Trump mentioned the idea that Mt Putin had been tampering with the American electoral process Mt Putin looked as sad as only a big mountain can look when it’s pissing down with sleety rain. I’m sorry, Mt Putin said, how could you think I would have done such a thing? What would have been the purpose? I’m a democrat, just like you. I am a mountain not a dried up wadi like Teresa May. I’m so sad, Donald, that you could think this of me. Mt Trump now knew for certain that he’d been right all along and his own government, and his bad spooks, had been trying to reduce him to a molehill with their bad lies about how Mt Putin is an avalanche in waiting. Being a mountain Mt Trump is above this, above the calumny dumped on his friend’s mountaintop.
There is trust between the mountains. All is good: no more recriminations. Love is in the air. The two mountains will live side by side doing great things while looking down on the bad people and putting bad democracy where it belongs – in the can.