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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
This superbly inventive debut is the story of a disfigured middle-aged man, a misunderstood teenage girl, and a basement full of pigs. Meet Jack Plum, a frightful-looking fellow with an oversized head. Raised by an abusive, alcoholic mother, he has lived the life of a recluse, venturing outside only to run errands and suffering the ridicule of the neighborhood bullies. His sole comfort is the secret "palace," a pig sanctuary he's created in the basement of his home. But aching for a connection beyond the porcine, Jack notices Holly, a young schoolgirl who has always refrained from teasing him. Sensing that she may need him, too, Jack offers her the gift of a baby pig -- and opens the door to an unlikely yet enormously affecting friendship.
The genius of Fitzgerald's novel is in her dual perspectives; the alternating voices of Holly and Jack provide the narrative. Readers sympathize with the adolescent Holly, who's compelled to spend time with Jack, even as their growing friendship distances her from her mother and her classmates. But Fitzgerald truly works her magic with Jack's character, skillfully endowing him with a language all his own to create a window into his strange yet kind and endearing psyche as the tale builds to a shattering climax. Already drawing comparisons to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, Pigtopia is a novel of palpable power. (Holiday 2005 Selection)