76 pages
ISBN 0-920428-89-4





Translated by David Homel
Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.


It is never safe to disturb the surface of things, to look too closely, to uncover truths best left hidden. The people of the countryside have come together for a pig killing. It is a festive time, with food for all, and plenty of wine to help it down; but it happens that, as a counterpoint to the farmers’ activities, the local aristocrats, a degenerate crew if half the tales are true, are conducting a hunt. In the course of the parallel gatherings, far too much is revealed of the characters and pasts of all participants for life to continue unchanged. The President, a ragged wanderer who hovers on the outskirts of the lives of others, not quite one of them yet not quite a stranger, expresses the pain of these multiple revelations when he muses that “You open up a pig and see you’re just like he is, you’ve got the same organs and everything. We eat the same things he ate, and he’d enjoy eating us as much as we enjoy eating him.” This violent tale of passion, cruelty, and the workings of inscrutable fate is timeless, dark, and richly coloured.


Marteau, Robert, “Pig-Skinning,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/37160.