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Pig's Foot: A Novel

3.29  ·  Rating details ·  272 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Oscar Kortico, great-grandchild of the founders of a small hamlet in the Cuban hinterland, is a sardonic teller of tales—some taller than others—of slavery, revolution, family secrets, love, and identity that span three generations.

One day, Oscar wakes to find that he is alone in the world. As the sole descendent of his family line, he is not sure what to do or where to g
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 14th 2014 by Bloomsbury USA (first published October 30th 2013)
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Average rating 3.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  272 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I rather enjoyed this book especially when the narrator interrupts the story to go on a rant. The narrator gives his family's history where the characters live in a remote and somewhat mysterious village. There's a far bit of people dying all of a sudden, parents being grandparents and maybe also an uncle or auntie at the same time. The women are all beautiful, the men strong or super intelligent and the African heritage and slavery never goes away. There is a strangeness to the story which come ...more
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-reads, arc
I received an advance copy via waterstones to review this book. I wouldn't usually read something that goes as far back as 1800's with mentions of war and slavery in, but I really did enjoy this. I enjoyed the fact that Oscar Kortico was speaking directly to the reader, like he could imagine what I was thinking.
We delve into the history of Oscar's family through the trial and tribulations in Cuba. From how Oscar learns about himself and how he got to where he ended up. The ending really did surp
Leilah Skelton
As far as debuts go, this is a fine offering from a new writer. There’s a no-nonsense protagonist explaining his familial history - the roots of his ancestry - and how this led him to be here, incarcerated, telling you his tale.

This novel oozes with generations of Cuban history. Although we are submerged into it, the novel occasionally became a little stuttery, and I felt that too much of the historical fact was wedged in in chunks, rather than layered more subtly within the novel’s telling.

Dec 01, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, literary
An enormous load of miserable, grindingly sexist blether, followed by the most hackneyed "twist" known to literature.

I don't see what others are seeing in this book. And yes, I should have been warned by the comparisons to Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It seems like people either love or hate this book. I loved it! Loved the stories, the history, and the characters.
Carol W.
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Freaking dark and depressing man. But in writing that is sexy and swaggerific. I can't believe I typed that.

Nonetheless, felt the ending was a cop-out which took away so MUCH from all that had been built up before. Taking away a star as a result.
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Original Review for Judging Covers -

I wanted so badly to like this book. I’d read reviews comparing Carlos Acosta’s writing to that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is my favourite author. Needless to say, I was excited and later horribly disappointed when this book fell short for me.

It wasn’t the writing style; Acosta’s writing is fluid and unique with a very charismatic narrator. The narration of Pig’s Foot was one of my favourite bits of the book and mo
Oct 01, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an intense, boundary-breaking novel ! But I have mixed feelings about it. Is it because of the plentiful twists or the unexpected ending or the number of characters ?

I very much appreciate family chronicles and this novel makes you travel in time, through three generations, from the 1820s to 1995. Carlos Acosta describes very precisely each of his characters, their physical traits and psychological functioning. Plus he offers us a historical, geographical, political view of Cuba that enabl
John Rennie
Jun 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a whimsical book. The story wanders around with no obvious point, and indeed it doesn't come to any particular ending. There is a kind of a twist ending but it's a twist that will be obvious to all but the most naive reader, and I'm sure the author never seriously intended it to be taken seriously. It's just more whimsy.

But for all this I found the book charming. I loved the characters and I loved the description of Cuba as it changed from a Spanish colony to the present. It was one of t
Review to follow
Update: Nov 2016
Bad bad reviewer...forgot about this one and now can't remember enough to write a fair review...and...can't find my notes ! All I remember is feeling rather generous giving it 3 stars. Will have to re read.
Why do I procrastinate?
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating I really loved some of the characters in this book, so vivid and colourful and a great story.
Isla Scott
This was really quite a dark and sombre read. Its somewhat gory, certainly quite violent with bloody violence depicted, so its certainly not for younger readers.

It features quite a large number of characters which I struggled to keep track of a bit. The setting and some of the scenarios in the plots/sub plots made me think of it as having a bit of a fantasy type flavour to it. If your not very imaginative then you'll likely struggle to picture the various circumstances depicted. It was somewhat
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was an easy read for me. I loved the story as I read through, but after halfway of reading some pretty comprehensive and detailed descriptions of situations and characters, I asked myself "why do I need to know all this? Will there be something in the later pages that'll somehow have connection to all these?"

So I kept on reading. The ending was unexpected for me, did not see that coming, but still a bit "movie cliche-ish" (if that makes sense). I'd still give it a 4-star instead of 3 because
Kay Southgate
A novel encompassing the history of Cuba and involving almost magical events. I wanted to like this more than I did, maybe it was the fact that I was reading it in translation that stopped me enjoying it as much as I felt I should have.
Miki Jacobs
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting book. I now know more about the history of Cuba than I did before. I didn't see the twist, which is good.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It reminded me of Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island. I didn't see the end coming until the end.
Mike Cruden
I was greatly disappointed by this book. I usually enjoy historical fiction when the historical backdrop is successfully merged with the protagonists' stories, so I was looking forward to learning about the history of Cuba alongside enjoying a good story. Unfortunately Acosta didn't manage to accomplish this. Most of the narrative is concerned with the saga of a few peculiar individuals in a small village in Cuba, the titular Pig's Foot, from the early 19th century to present day, with Cuba's ve ...more
Lianne Burwell
Pig's Foot is a book I have trouble evaluating. On the one hand, it's the story of the history of Cuba, from the slave days through to more modern times, following two intertwined families, told by their descendant who is apparently locked up by a villainous officer. Characters include a pygmie slave with a giant dick, revolutionaries, two sisters who marry two men who are as close as brothers, a violent rival, spirits from Africa, the city of Havana, and above all, the mysterious hidden village ...more
Jun 25, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really loved this book...until the last two chapters. If you can't suspend your disbelief, if you can't live in a world of magic, if you can't handle the magic side of magic realism, then just don't write magic realist fiction, Carlos Acosta. Magic realist fans, I highly recommend this book if you skip the last two chapters. I feel like the author had to include that nonsense at the end to get past censors, because it just didn't fit with the rest of the novel. Also, the perspective of the nar ...more
Mary Hamer
I started this because I love fiction in translation, being taken into a different world of imagination. That's exactly what Pig's Foot does. The work of dazzling Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta (his alone? I did wonder) it tells the story of a boy growing up in Pig's Foot, a hamlet so remote that no-one else in Cuba has heard of it. Conditions there are brutally deprived, passions intense. tough as these lives are, for the reader there's a sense of relief iin entering this strong, if not simple, sto ...more
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: couldnt-finish
Rather mediocre Cuban novel
By sally tarbox on 21 September 2016
Format: Kindle Edition
Picked this as my choice for Cuba in my round-the-world reading challenge. But only managed about 60 pages before deciding life was too short.
Narrated by a troubled youth who's been brought up by his grandparents, he describes/ imagines his forebears' life in a remote village called Pig's Foot. This is the era of slavery - and of slaughter of the whites by their oppressed black workers. It's a brutish life that
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Starting with an open mind, I got into this book and found it easy to read, pleasant (despite deprivation and misery in the story), and quirky at times. I had no trouble continuing throughout and really did enjoy it. As my knowledge of Cuba and it's torrid past is limited, it was enlightening to follow the story through generations to today. They still seem to have a long way to go. But all power to the Cubans.
This book is at once, a good read, a story well told, and informative on many levels.
Mark Field
Like my recent trip to Cuba, I am left conflicted by this novel. There's things I love and things I hate ... does Oscar, the narrator, have to tell us, the reader, to "fuck off" so often, I think his editor should have been a bit more forceful there! I did like the storytelling, but did get lost in the characters at times, and confused by the relationships to each other often. A definite nod to that Latin American genre of magic realism throughout and obviously referencing One Hundred Years of S ...more
Athena Dupont
Jul 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Conversational literature has a special place in my heart, and so does irreverent prose. Debut novelist Acosta combines oral-tradition story telling with Tom Robbins-esque preposterous plot and matter-of-fact comical characters, and the result is a fast-paced and humorous romp through rural Cuba. Political commentary, morality, and romance make cameos, but don’t let them distract you from the main course of vivid family history.
Carole Jordan
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this after the first couple of chapters and until the chapter called 'The Interogation'. I suggest you read no further.
The story of the families are beautifully woven into the history and landscape of Cuba. THe language is simple and resonates with the rythym of a folk tale and the characters are extremely well drawn so that you feel you know them personally. I felt drawn in and was keen to know their fate.
Anna Ghislena
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. Carlos Acosta brings both cold and warm blooded humour, passion and patriotism to the unexpected and darkest magicical corners of Cuba. I loved all of his characters, the way he set the scenes and despite the surprise ending, came away from the last page firmly believing that anything is possible.
Mar 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really didn't know what to expect. I read the comparisons to Marquez, but you can't compare to the incomparable. As literary fiction goes, the imagery and descriptiveness contained in this work is direct yet vivid. The references to the history of Cuba and the ancestral origins of its people made for good substance. I would recommend this to others - it was very entertaining.
Jul 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book

This books was deep especially with the history of Cuba. Before reading this I never thought Cubans has deep roots. The ending of the book was a bit bazaar. I learned Bacardi is Cuban and not Puerto Rican ( I had to quick wiki search). This is a definitely a good read.
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written in the style of Garcia Marquez, but not as long winded and much more comprehensible. A quaint, surrealistic novel which describes the tribulations of three generations of a negro family to the backdrop of modern Cuban history. I found most of the characters endearing, despite a proclivity to violence in many of them.
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Born in Havana in 1973, Carlos trained at the National Ballet School of Cuba with many of its most influential teachers, including Ramona de Sáa. From 1989 to 1991 Carlos performed throughout the world, guesting with several companies including the Compagnia Teatro Nuovo di Torino in Italy, where he danced alongside Luciana Savignano.

In 1990 he won the Gold Medal at the Prix de Lausanne, the Gran

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