Pig’s Foot by Carlos Acosta
Original title – Pata de Puerco
Translator – Frank Wynne
Source – from Frank the translator of the book .
Well when I first heard last year that Carlos Acosta had a novel out ,I was a bit sceptical the whole celeb writing novel is never a real winning formula in my Opinion .Carlos is someone I have been aware of for a number of years as one of the face of Ballet ,where he has been a star of the Royal ballet and is considered the greatest male dancer of his generation .It wasn’t till I saw Frank’s name attached to the book as the translator , I knew this was more than a run of the mill celeb writes novel (May be awful but celeb names sell books is my usual view on celeb novels and why they come out ) .
Beuno … Ok .. the first thing you need to know about me is I never knew my mother or my father ,in fact I only found their names a couple of months ago .My memories begin on the day i came home from primary school dragging a dead cat by the scruff of the neck .I must have been about seven .
What happen before he was seven has he blocked this out ?
So pig’s foot is the of a family told by its last surviving member as he holds the pig’s foot amulet a family talisman passed through the generations .Also to the very small village in the hinterland of Cuba is were a family story and the story of Cuba during the past four generations is told .So from Oscar and Jose who were Slaves that helped in the freedom and end up settling in the village after Cuba gets it Independence in the 1850 ,we see the the next generation through the eyes of three children relate to another Oscar in the present day the last of this family line .alive , as the years past we see the good and bad of Cuba ,from the rise of Us involvement to the fall of the regime that was toppled by Castro .
I looked at the pendant in disgust .The pig’s foot was not dried and shrivelled ,in fact seemed to be alive ;the veins pulsed ,the flesh was red and bled constantly .I fetched a damp cloth to wipe up the blood inside the drawer and on the floor then ran back into the kitchen and threw the gruesome amulet in the bin .
The amulet comes to life ,this remind me a bit of Marquez .
Now I loved another Cuban novel I reviewed ,well novel isn’t the right word it’s actually a collection of vignettes about Cuba .The book view of the tropics in the dawn by Guillermo Cabrera Infante ,this book also follows Cuba through snippets from independence to the Castro took over so actually serves well as a companion to this book ,Carlos book is on a more personnel level but also shows the struggles Cuba have had since its independence .I read an interview with Carlos about the writing of the book and the writers he loves and he read his first book in his twenties and it was a book by Marquez and the is touches of magic realism in this narrative ,he also loves the writing Borges ,which for me I felt more as there is a lot of looking where the modern Oscar comes from about the mirror of his life almost and to me that is a very Borges thing to do .As ever frank has work wonders on this book ,Carlos even thanked Frank for his input to the final edition .You will remember I had this on my IFFP prediction its a shame it missed it the book is more than a celeb novel ,in fact it could be the first step for Carlos Acosta in a post dance career .
Have you ever read a celeb novel that is as good as this one ?