by Johanna Stoberock
Octobre 2019 – Red Hen Press (US)

Runner-up for the 2016 Italo Calvino Prize, this literary masterpiece combines elements of magical realism and suspense while speaking to critical and immediately relevant societal issues.

Four children live on an island that is the repository for all the world’s garbage. Garbage arrives, the children sort it, and then feed it to a herd of pigs. The pigs are beautiful, but fierce, with sharp teeth and insatiable appetites, and they will eat anything—even human flesh. When a boy washes ashore in a barrel, the children must decide what to do with him: is he more of the world’s detritus, meant to be fed to the pigs, or is he one of them? Combining elements of magical realism and suspense, this literary novel explores questions about community, environmental responsibility, and the possibility of innocence.

Johanna Stoberock earned a BA from Wesleyan University and an MFA in Fiction from the University of Washington. Her novel CITY OF GHOSTS was published by W.W. Norton in 2003. She has received residencies at the Corporation of Yaddo, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Millay Colony. Johanna has taught creative writing at Whitman College, the University of Washington, the Wesleyan Writers Conference, and the Washington State Penitentiary.


“[…]an engrossing and breathless narrative about the human capacity for both destruction and survival.”—Booklist, starred review

“Pigs reads like a parable or a Greek tragedy… Pithy, earthy language conveys complex truths… Devastating and hopeful, the book champions reform from the inside out.”—Foreword Reviews

“Johanna Stoberock’s second novel is a grotesque and luminous thriller with a big, swashbuckling allegory at its core, and Stoberock’s own magic trick is to populate the island with characters sufficiently rich to elevate the novel far beyond parable or admonition. It’s a beautiful book that I can’t wait to reread.”—Pacific Standard

“A lyrical, enthralling, and dark-inflected allegory, equal parts Italo Calvino, Angela Carter, and Lord of the Flies.”—Jonathan Lethem, author of A Gambler’s Anatomy and The Feral Detective