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Pig Tales

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Pig Tales is the story of a young woman who lands a position at Perfumes Plus, a beauty boutique/“massage” parlor. She enjoys great success until she slowly metamorphoses into . . . a pig. What happens to her then overturns all our ideas about relationships between man, woman, and beast in a stunning feminist fable of political and sexual corruption.

151 pages, Paperback

First published August 27, 1996

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About the author

Marie Darrieussecq

68 books181 followers
Marie Darrieussecq was born on January 3, 1969. She was raised in a small village in the Basque Country.

While finishing her PhD in French Literature, she wrote her first novel, Truismes (Pig Tales) which was published in September 1996 by Paul Otchakovsky-Laurens (POL), who have published all her subsequent novels as well. After the success of Truismes, Darrieussecq decided to quit her teaching position at the University of Lille to concentrate on writing her novels. Her first husband was a mathematician, her second is an astrophysicist. She gave birth to a son in 2001 and to a daughter in 2004.

She endorsed Ségolène Royal's candidacy during the French Presidential Elections of 2007.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 330 reviews
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,493 reviews2,374 followers
December 13, 2021

I've come across many a happy couple in literature before but never anything quite like this: two lovers being a sow and a wolf. From their various Parisian apartments (or lairs when transformation occurs) whilst trying to avoid the authorities they regularly order take-out pizzas as a way to survive: she eats the pizzas grunting with delight at getting her snout all mucky, he eats the pizza delivery guys and tries not to howl whilst staring at the moon. I think the phrase happy as a pig in shit comes to mind. Anyway, all this is kept for the last third, which was actually my least favourite part of the novel. I found it far more interesting and symbolic before, when we witness a normal woman, with a normal life, slowly start to notice strange things happening to her body. And it all starts with the appearance of a third nipple.

The nameless narrator of this fable/satire is a young woman working in a beauty parlor in a Paris of the near future, where sexual favors are of high value for females in the hunt for what really makes them them tick: perfumes, fancy ointments, and other bodily emollients for the flesh. At first the narrator becomes highly distressed when realising she is in fact turning into a pig, but gradually gets in touch with her porky side after she is kicked out by her boyfriend and left to wander the streets, where she eventually ends up giving birth to piglets. Along side the increasingly strong drive for food and sex, a lot of the narrative in the first half of the novel is the narrator's documented transformation: from changes in her complexion, extra bodily hair and increased weight around the rump area, to the loss of speech, fully-formed trotters and a little piggy wiggly corkscrew tail.

Despite it being a rather a short novel Darrieussecq crams a lot of stuff in: our narrator; with all that is going on with her body, is sexually held captive, nearly slaughtered by her own mother, seen as the face of a fascist political campaign, gets trapped in a cathedral crypt, is the guest of honour at an orgy for sick perverts, and falls in love with a businessman who also happens to be a wolf. This was my third Darrieussecq novel and it easily ranks as my favourite. The writing was quirky and sharp, and as first novels go it's one of the most original I've ever read. Jean-Luc Godard bought the rights to make a movie but that was never going to work. If France had a Studio Ghibli like Japan then I'd say this would make for one crazy animated film. Only it would most definitely not be for kids!
Profile Image for Gaurav.
170 reviews1,217 followers
March 18, 2022
*edited on 11.05.2021

Then the knife plunges in. The farmhand gives it two little shoves to push it through the thick skin, after which the long blade seems to melt through the neck fat as it sinks in up to the hilt.
At first the boar doesn��t understand a thing, he remains stretched out for a few seconds, thinking about it. Aha! Then he realizes he is being killed and utters strangles cries until he can scream no more.
- Knut Hamsun

link: source

We all should be feminists or rather we all have to be feminists, as put by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, this phrase keeps reverberating in my mind throughout the book as if it’s some sort of gospel. Well, it would be another thing to observe that even our religions fail to be feminists, perhaps all of them, it may come as some sort of blasphemy to the careless and impatient readers. If we can put our biases aside and try to look at it at a deeper level, deeper than religion (of course some would argue what could it be deeper than religion), somewhere the basic level of humanity, at the level of morality and ethics; for morality encompasses what made us- our customs and habits, of course, over the years morality and religion have become intertwined, well that has been a problem of humanity in almost all aspects- we devise things and then we struggle to get free from them, we would be able to realize that the problem is deep-rooted in human civilization. A few of us would argue that what is the need for feminism as we have or are going to become progressive and there would be others, who would say feminism would create another sort of divide as it gives an unfair advantage to ‘the other sex’ I would say we need to broaden our intellectual horizon (of course we talking of empathy and emotional intelligence here) and see the problem from the perspective of entire humanity- for any civilization may grow and be progressive only when its all sections advance simultaneously, and hence feminism should be taken as a sort of affirmative action, at the basic philosophy of humanity. We need to be feminists so that those who have been deprived, suppressed, and unexpressed for years, maybe given some tools to improve their representation in various domains of society, and hence, it is about equity than equality, for equality presupposes an idealistic social condition. And therefore, feminist literature is a must for a society that takes everything for granted.

That’s why I write: it is because I remain myself through my sorrow over Yvan. Even when I’m in the forest with the other pigs, they often sniff me suspiciously, sensing that human thoughts are still going on in there. I’m unable to rise to their expectations.

Pig Tales is not just a feminist tale it is much more than that as we would come to know during the course of the book. I bought the book just a few days ago, I read in one of the comments by Vogue- “A combination of Metamorphosis and Candide with a sprinkling of David Lynch”, it immediately caught my mind since both Kafka and Lynch are my favorites. I thought that I would read just a few pages, to get the taste of the narrative and would read it later in my leisure time but, to my pleasant surprise, I found myself stuck to the book and finished it in just two sittings. Right from the first page, we find that the book is full of misogynist references, of course, to portray the situation of its narrator, sometimes it may get a bit uncomfortable too, for the text is coarse, direct and may put the humanity to shame to look at its own disgust. The book hits upon the morality of our society, what role it plays on our social life, however, it seems to address the point that more than morality we require a society with a soul, which could be humane.

After drying my tears, he had sit me on him and he shoved something up my rear end. That hurt even more than with the clients, but he told me it was for my own good, everything would be fine afterwards, and I wouldn’t have any more problems. I bled a lot, but you couldn’t call it a period.

The narrative of the book starts as a staunch critique of the misogyny prevalent in our society but soon it shifts to a calmer and more subtle approach, which of course does have regular doses of contrasting feminist elements to keep the vigor alive, and moves towards adopting a holistic approach about the bleakness of human existence. And we feel that it touched upon the usual features of a Kafkaesque world. The narrator, who is devoid of any name/ reference or anything or everything, of book, takes you through the account of her unusual life, in which she is being treated as an object of desire as if she does not have being of her own and lives on the mercy of those whose desires she has to fulfill. She moves from man to man, only to find that all are the same, gradually it corrupts her too as we see that our habits take better of our conscience, with time. This ‘civilized’ society is based upon her bodily features (satires our concept of beauty with acerbic wit) and gradually condemns her to nothingness- she is robbed of even her inauthentic, commodified existence- as soon as her bodily features start to betray her.

link: source

During the course of her life account, something strange happens to her, she starts turning to something strange, something who/ which is not generally associated with humanity. She grows perplexed about her condition as it’s her natural reaction. However, gradually she starts to come to terms with it, in fact, over a period of time, she increasingly likes her new form. The new form somewhat frees her from the shackles of the morality of human society which has been exploiting her by objectifying her as she belongs to ‘the other sex’ with which man can do as they please.

A craving for life sent shivers through me, engulfed me; it was like wild boars galloping in my brain, lightning streaking through my sinews, something that came from the depths of the wind, from the most ancient bloodlines. I felt in the very fibers of my being the anguish of the dinosaurs, the tenacity of coelacanths, and knowing that these big fishes were still alive impelled me to go on- I don’t know how to explain it now, and I don’t know any more how I know all that.

She experiences the joy of freedom, the taste of dignity, and the essence of her being, the very first time in her life- whichever may be. She enjoys her newly found derives for food and sex as if she is achieving ultimate happiness through these, perhaps moving towards enlightenment. She finds her real love after losing all her bodily features which are seemingly essential in her human form and life slowly starts turning into a fairy tale for her. Over the course of time, she loses her voice too, for what do words require for in this form of life as she no more has to deal with problems of humanity- expression, etc; she relishes her newly found niche in this world of ‘wordlessness’ as she gets all other features, in exchange, which are required for authentic existence. She loses her humane voice but she gets another sort of voice, through which she writes down the account of her life which essentially, we are reading. But suddenly, ‘humanity’ strikes her, she is robbed of all kind of solaces she has developed in her form of earthly existence, she has been brutally raped for the pleasure of ‘humanity’ even when it’s not actively involved in it, but she gets hurt more when existence is not acknowledged when she is commodified.

Yvan loved me equally well as a woman and as a sow

The narrator of the story behaves in a somewhat strange manner throughout the story, as a reader you feel surprised at her reactions at times when she is being exploited. Perhaps, it accentuates our habitual fallacy as we quickly become used to, to our circumstances, or probably it reflects the basic problem with our mentality wherein we don’t even recognize that we are being denied a life of dignity and honor, as, in the case of the story, the narrator mostly looks at herself from the point of view of other sex. The language of the book is razor-sharp as it strikes straight into your heart with a dagger of irony, absurdity, and shame. The tale of our nameless, mute (just humanly though) narrtor may look innocuous at the outset but if you delve deeper into it and observe closely, you would find that it points out the absurdity of metamorphosis of the narrator, in fact, we are encountered with this absurdity in both her life forms, as a masseuse in the parlor wherein she is actually working as a prostitute, she metamorphoses into an abominable beast and then she eventually turns to a sow, you feel as if you are in familiar bleak Kafkaesque world. The tale may also be a sort of protest against the upsurge of right-wing politics, almost in all major countries of the world however, the book may refer specifically to France.

link: source

The novel is quite short for the impact may create on its readers, in fact, it's a great book for debut, for it's been written with great control and mastery. Though the language is quite fluid, and there are no long sentences infused with adjectives; in fact, the sentences are short and crisp but they are full of irony and satire, and direct which may take you off guard at times but precise enough to keep you engaged. We see that racism is also touched upon briefly in the book but in an ironic way, to ridicule our concepts of skin color. It also addresses the issue of animal meat, from the perspective of animals. The end of the story is deservingly and rightly left open-ended which, I think, entails greatness to it. I feel there is just one part of the book where I feel a bit disconnected with the narrative- when the narrator apparently turns in sow and lives with her lover in a Parisian flat, her lover who turns to a werewolf and relishes their life there, I fear that it might turn out to be one of those teenage fantasy books- such as Twilight but eventually, I feel happy to be proven wrong.

The book might be disturbing to some but it's been written to portray human existence, bare, stripped off any sort of fake consolations since humanity fundamentally is deranged as we may see from the history of our civilization. Those who would be able to brave through the book would be rewarded heftily. It's a heart-wrenching rendition of challenges one faces in a domineering world in which one tries to make way through courage, pain, isolation, alienation, anxiety, and existential angst with one's limitations, to define oneself or in other words to find one's identity. Though it raises quite a few important feministic issues but, as we say initially, it is much more than just that, it encompasses entire life, perhaps touches upon most of the things which define humanity- sex, lust, power, beliefs, morality, ethics, prejudice, exploitation, freedom, expression, love, despair, happiness, sadness and most important of all human emotions- perseverance. The tale could be interpreted in many ways as the author leaves it loose and undetermined in the conscious space of her authors, though it launches staunch critique against patriarchy, prejudice, exploitation of women, the ostensible risk associated with the power which may come through cultural and social biases but it's essentially an account of narrator's struggle in pursuit of finding herself.

I try to do what Yvan taught me, but for the opposite reason: when I crane my neck towards the Moon, it’s to show, once again, a human face.

Profile Image for MJ Nicholls.
2,049 reviews4,117 followers
January 26, 2012
You have this friend, she’s been out of work for months. Then she gets this gig at a perfume counter, which also involves being a prostitute. She is routinely abused by her “clients” who use her for increasingly perverse sexual practices. She is also, at that time, transforming into a sow. You keep calling to meet for a coffee, but all you get is the answer machine, oinking and grunting her absence. You hear she’s taken up with a politician who sweeps her into the dark sexual underbelly of Paris’s powerful elite, where her fluctuating pigginess proves popular with the higher-ups she lets abuse her rectally. You can forget trying to reach her now. She’s leading a new life with her six teats and wolf boyfriend, she has no time for YOU. It’s frustrating when friends fall away. (This is a delightfully surreal tale with no paragraph breaks).
Profile Image for Zadignose.
254 reviews155 followers
December 18, 2014
"No one talked in there, they all screamed, sang, drooled, ate on all fours and that kind of thing. We had fun."

This stunning book caught me completely by surprise, it is brilliant, and it's right up my alley. It's full of viciousness and humor, remarkable understatement in the midst of insane circumstances, and bitter, intense irony. It is a madcap romp through a hell in which our culture's most sadistic fantasies are made a concrete reality.

Outrage at the commodification of women is quite apparent throughout. For instance, the protagonist has little to complain about when she is gang raped and forced to have sex with dogs, but she's more profoundly hurt when someone refers to her as "not so hot."

Apathy is also brutally skewered. E.g., when hearing authorities laugh about a plan to convert prisoners into pigs to butcher them and sell them as meat, the protagonist's only reaction is "personally, I've never understood anything about politics."

Intense absurdism is everywhere. At any moment, the reader can anticipate being baffled, startled, and confronted with the most ridiculous and unexpected circumstances. Yet the book remains cohesive. It doesn't fall apart, there's a consistent--though consistently odd--narrative.

One of the most amazing things about the book is the strangely sunny attitude of the protagonist. Things don't get her down all that much, most of the time. She even has sympathy where you would think sympathy were impossible. E.g., she worries about the well-being of people who have cruelly victimized her in every possible way.

The book is full of zingers and amazing punchlines as well.

I think it would be fair to call this a perfect book.
Profile Image for Celeste   Corrêa .
282 reviews142 followers
August 17, 2021
A fusão dos universos femininos e suínos.

A metamorfose de um humano no corpo de um animal não é inédito na literatura; contudo, neste livro, alcança contornos muito angustiantes para a minha condição de mulher.
Há machismo, prostituição e banalização da mulher num texto com passagens incomodativas que me provocaram repulsa.
A própria autora inicia o livro suplicando a todas as pessoas que possam sentir-se chocadas com esse facto que tenham a bondade de lhe perdoar.

Escrito em 1996, é ambientado na França dum futuro próximo pois a moeda Euro já circula.
Não acompanho a sociedade francesa, mas sou de opinião que a autora pretende passar uma mensagem universal e não apenas descrever a conjuntura do seu país.
Uma jovem desempregada consegue um emprego numa perfumaria, que é também local de massagens, sexo e humilhações.
Começa a engordar e transforma-se gradualmente numa porca gorda não de acordo com o estereótipo de beleza exigido às mulheres e passa por vicissitudes não completamente explicadas ou difíceis de entender.
Um relacionamento amoroso termina; ela e o seu novo namorado, transformado em lobo, apenas podem sair ao crepúsculo pois não devem ser vistos ou arriscam uma denúncia à SPA.

«Doravante sou porca a maior parte do tempo, é mais prático para a vida na floresta.»

No Brasil intitularam o livro «Porcarias» - bem mais perto do original francês «Truismes» -, pois palavra truie em francês, significa porca, como me ensinou uma amiga fluente no idioma.
Profile Image for Marcos.
98 reviews7 followers
April 12, 2022
a momentos eran 2 estrellas y a momentos 4, no sé gestionarlo sorry. si me viniese alguien a preguntarme si es un buen libro o no, os juro que no sabría qué responder. leedlo supongo
Profile Image for João Reis.
Author 82 books546 followers
August 4, 2021
"Estranhos Perfumes", de Marie Darrieussecq. Tradução de Miguel Serras Pereira.
Com este livro bizarríssimo e violento, M. Darrieussecq criou uma história surrealista sobre uma sociedade ditatorial que tem início num período não determinado. A narradora-protagonista trabalha numa perfumaria ou, para se ser mais correto, num misto de casa de massagens com bordel, e vai sofrendo, ao longo de toda a narrativa, uma metamorfose, transformando-se em porca. É então sujeita a todo o género de violências sexual, física e psicológica, encarando todos os abusos com uma naturalidade ingénua, infantil, para não dizer indiferença, o que atribui ao romance um ambiente opressivo e angustiante. O estilo fluido, o sarcasmo, o humor negro e a ausência de parágrafos tornam a leitura viciante, e conquanto algumas abordagens rocem o cliché (a porca como símbolo da mulher vista como um naco de carne, o homem-lobo), é um livro de estreia originalíssimo, e é interessante constatar como um livro escrito em 1996 antecipa já muitos dos temas em voga na atualidade, embora o faça com um estilo literário que, ao contrário do que aconteceu na época, jamais se tornaria comercialmente apelativo nos dias que correm. Um livro com um tom muito europeu, muito francês, de uma enorme brutalidade, que pode ser alvo de várias leituras. Para quem as quiser fazer.
A most bizarre and violent book. M. Darrieussecq wrote a surrealist story about a dictatorial society that arises in the near future. The protagonist-narrator works in a perfume shop or, let's be honest, in a mix of a massage parlor and a brothel, and she undergoes, throughout the entire narrative, a metamorphosis, transforming herself into a pig. She is then subjected to all kinds of sexual, physical, and psychological violence, facing all abuses with a naive, childlike naturalness, or even indifference, which provides the novel its oppressive and distressing vibe. Its fluid style, sarcasm, dark humor, and the absence of paragraphs make the reading addictive, and while some parts verge on the cliché (the pig as a symbol of the woman seen as a piece of meat, etc.), this was a very original debut novel, and it is interesting to see how a book written back in 1996 already anticipated many of the issues being discussed right now, although it does so with a literary style that, unlike what happened at that time, would never become commercially appealing these days. A very European, very French, quite brutal novel.
Profile Image for Henning.
33 reviews1 follower
August 6, 2014
Few books have touched me as this one has!
At the time of reading it, ten or so years ago, I actually got really scared and had a hard time sleeping for a couple of days. It's so bizarre but in a sense so realistic and true too human behaviour that it far exceeded the horror of most I'd seen/read up too that point (and still today). The naive narrator and how she, from her perspective, focuses and draw the readers attention to what she thinks is important and how she hides things from herself or society and possibly how society views her together with the span from somewhat comical events to almost unbearable dark ones, yet within a frame of what is possibly all too human (and in the same instance not, she is, after all a pig) really made this book an eye opener for me, or rather, a mind opener.

This is one of those books you carry around all your life and in your mind open up, more or less voluntarily, to use for reference in your everyday events, while watching the news and reality TV or just reading about all crazy shit going on around in the world while you're stuffing nachos on the couch. It's so filled with nuances and context and so much material for thought that it, after more then ten years, still keeps on giving.

So basically, it's a book that takes a couple of hours to read and will take a couple of decades to forget, all while getting several new takes on the phrase "Ignorance is bliss". I gave it a freaking five star rating as it profoundly reshaped the core of what is me, but at the same time I think it's terrible and wouldn't recommended it to anyone.
Profile Image for Francine Maessen.
618 reviews37 followers
March 3, 2018
I never thought I would be the kind of person who would become a vegetarian, but some of the books I read lately made me reconsider eating meat and I'm afraid this book was the last drop.

Pig Tales is about a young, naive, ambitious sex worker who slowly turns into a pig. It is set in some dystopian setting but that doesn't really play a big role (you don't even start to notice until the end of the novel), because everything is focalized from her perspective and she's just not that into politics. Darrieussecq examines the bounderies between human and animal and the way we marginalize people by describing them as more animal than human (we are kind of used of women being called "fat pigs," but what if the woman in question is actually turning into a pig?). Best of all, I started taking the side of the pig. Towards the end of the novel, the main character just seems more... content when she is a sow, so why would we see her losing her human form as a bad thing?
Profile Image for Nathália.
138 reviews32 followers
May 31, 2022
My favourite reads are often ones able to converse with thoughts, memories, experiences, feelings found inside my mind, which remained remarkable enough to be granted immortality, never fade. Truismes is a sardonic, tragicomic coming-of-age tale that reeks of fresh authenticity. That said, Darrieussecq’s debut novel had me thinking of two masterpieces - Dogville (Lars von Trier) and Raw (Julia Ducournau). Our unnamed narrator, as Grace in Dogville is not only innocent and naïve, but rather extremely conformist, willing to surrender to all of society’s perversity for as long as it is “humanly” possible. Even so, the novel never falls prey of excessive victimisation or sentimentality, delivering a thorough contemplation of the complexity of female agency in face of a dehumanizing oppression. Julia Ducournau’s films deal with the female body as a reflection of her character’s inner moods, unspeakable truths, unbearable struggles, which transcend the limits of language and, in turn, manifest as body reactions or transformations. Truismes competently follows a similar approach with the fluid transition of our protagonist into a sow (truie in French). This serves to mirror the bestiality with which women are handled in this (sadly realistic) dystopian Paris, while also questioning the human value in face of our ingrained speciesism.
Unfortunately, the genius word play is lost in translation, as is the title’s double meaning. Truisms seem to dictate our protagonist’s human trajectory, preventing her from using her intellect and self-will until she turns into a „truie“, which ironically renders her freer from enslaving norms leading, however, to ineludible marginalisation.

Truismes performs a clever and sharp social exploration through topics such as beauty and gender norms, sexuality, misogyny, consent, identity, patriarchy, environment, corruption, alienation, classism, disability and, of course, Otherness.

As a psychoanalyst, Darrieussecq brilliantly conveys the concept of sublimation through art, gifting her protagonist some much needed, although painful awareness of our dichotomous nature. Freedom in the dark reaches of Otherness.
Profile Image for Iris ☾ (dreamer.reads).
457 reviews919 followers
January 28, 2021

Llegué a este libro sin conocer absolutamente nada acerca de él, fue un regalo de mi madre, una auténtica lectora voraz. Me lo recomendó con tanto fervor que ardía en deseos de sumergirme entre sus páginas y lo cierto, es que lo que he encontrado entre ellas ha sido bestial.

Esta historia está narrada por nuestra protagonista, una mujer que empieza a notar cambios muy radicales en su cuerpo, en sus gustos culinarios y en su piel. Su día a día se ve paulatinamente alterado así como sus comportamientos. Son varias fases las que se van sucediendo hasta que finalmente se convierte en una cerda.

Estamos ante un escrito hilarante, crítico y destructivo con momentos repulsivos pero sobretodo con un poder de entretenimiento mayúsculo. Leerlo supone pasar una breve etapa de descubrimiento y de conocimiento en un grado muy elevado gracias a su potencial originalidad.

Es inevitable comparar el paralelismo entre esta novela y «La metamorfosis» de Kafka en la que el protagonista, una mañana se despierta convertido en una enorme cucaracha. Siendo este último una obra maestra de la literatura y sin querer quitarle mérito, pienso que Marie ha hecho un gran trabajo.

En definitiva, nos encontramos ante un texto muy diferente y complejo, con una narración directa, detallada y sin censura. Muy recomendable para lectores que buscan novelas que sorprendan, con tramas alocadas y amantes de obras distópicas. Además tiene una narración muy singular que no pasa inadvertida.
657 reviews59 followers
July 10, 2022
No había caído en la cuenta de que ‘Marranadas’ ya se había publicado en castellano a finales de los 90 hasta que me lo dijo ayer una amiga. No es que pensara que tenía que ser una novedad. De hecho me chocó que pese a su aire de fábula distópica, la acción se situase sobre el año 2000. Pero sí pensé en algún momento (además de en Sade o Ballard) en Houllebecq y sus últimas anticipaciones de los días de pasado mañana pensados con los trending topics de hoy. No porque Darrieussecq parezca obsesionada con gobiernos islamistas y los orgullos de chalecos amarillos, sino precisamente porque parece que le preocupa justamente lo contrario. Leyendo una breve reseña de su novela de cuando se publicó a finales de los 90 me entero de que el libro en Francia fue interpretado como una sátira contra Le Pen. Ella creo que lo negó o le restó importancia con razón, subrayando que la novela es sobre todo fantasía y ficción, pero tardé unos segundos en darme cuenta de que obviamente se referían a Le Pen padre, todavía a años luz de lo logrado por su hija, y de repente me pareció todo más inquietante, la novela pero sobre todo los telediarios que se nos vienen encima.
Profile Image for Nate D.
1,595 reviews1,027 followers
April 27, 2015
Scathing deadpan pitch-black satire, first on the more personal horrors of being a women within modern society, then a broader survey of society and politics, building into a truly cataclysmic fervor. In sheer startlingly hilarious vitriol, delivered in a mad rush of increasing insanity (with lack of paragraph breaks to match), even punctuated by surreal moments of calm and odd beauty, this most reminds me of Roland Topor's Joko’s Anniversary, which few other works can approach. Darrieussecq followed this Goncourt Prize-shortlisted debut with other odd and gut-wrenching novels like My Phantom Husband, but never again hit this level of fervor.
Profile Image for Belinda Lorenzana.
121 reviews21 followers
May 11, 2011
Lo más notable de este texto es que ondea. Cuando una la está leyendo, no se sabe si sentir lástima, risa, miedo, asco o excitación sexual. La personaje, de entrada, no fue provista de voluntad y, cuando experimenta algún impulso que la lleva a "moverse", este es equiparable al celo de los animales. No se puede establecer una identificación con ella, por lo tanto. Una se limita a hacer gestos conforme pasan las páginas, porque la protagonista ni siquiera es capaz de despertar compasión. Un acierto, me parece.

La novelita es absurda, futurista, desesperanzada, burlona de sí misma, desagradable la mayor parte del tiempo. Sí funciona. Aunque, obviamente, yo no la puedo amar.
Author 3 books339 followers
October 5, 2017
Girl meets boy. Girl starts gaining weight. Girl gets work in the oldest profession in the world, is upbeat about it.

Girl grows extra breast... or two or three or four...

And a curly tail.

Darrieussecq can't be accused of holding back in her first novel. She covers a lot of ground: from the dark side of heterosexual relations in modern Paris, to the end of the world. In the end, however, it's a tad too much, ahem, red meat on the chopping block for a 134 page novel.

I love eating and reading the offal truth, but this was a bit of a disappointment.
Profile Image for Daniella.
256 reviews543 followers
Want to read
April 25, 2016
I might reserve this for an Experimental Read sometime soon.

Pig Tales and I go way, way back. When I was a sophomore in college many years ago, I remember my Lit professor introduced me to this novel and it really fucked me up--in a good way. (She was the same professor who introduced Haruki Murakami, Banana Yoshimoto, Orhan Pamuk and Kazuo Ishiguro to me.)

This story focuses on the objectification of women in society, an issue that has always intrigued me. I'm excited to go back to this and see how my views differed throughout the years.
Profile Image for elizabeth.
45 reviews7 followers
December 31, 2007
an odd one. it saddened me that it became more obviously, extravagantly futuristic in its setting as it progressed, but this is less a fault of the author's than my own sense that a woman turning into a pig is an entirely possible event in a Parisian parfumarie. but i realize that not everyone has such a troubled relationship with skin conditions or the french.
Profile Image for Ed Erwin.
957 reviews98 followers
January 14, 2020
I just realized I'd never added this to my "read" list. I guess that's because I could never figure out what I think about it. It is a sort of dark magical realism that I should like, but somehow didn't like much.
Profile Image for tattwa.
235 reviews185 followers
July 4, 2020
W momencie premiery mogła być wywrotowa, dziś ta książka jest po prostu konstatacją: warto mieć z tyłu głowy, że "Świństwo" zostało napisane prawie ćwierć wieku temu i jeśli wpisuje się dziś w popularną narrację, to raczej dlatego, że wtedy budowało pod nią fundamenty.
Dziwna, niesamowicie dziwna książka. Infantylna naiwność narratorki i głównej bohaterki zarazem kontrastuje z eskalacją przemocy i wynaturzenia. Darrieussecq podaje na tacy pełen zestaw: jest tu przemoc seksualna (w pełnej rozpiętości, od podszczypywania, nierealnych standardów dot. estetyki kobiecego ciała oraz uprzedmiotowienia i żartów aż do scen rodem z "Salo" Pasoliniego), jest satyra na rządy konserwatywnych mężczyzn i religijny fanatyzm (przesycony - a jakże! - hipokryzją), jest opozycja binarna kultura-natura wchodząca w dialog z opozycją binarną męskie-żeńskie. Jest i bardzo udana metafora traumy, której przepracowanie ostatecznie przynosi ulgę i wolność od presji cudzych oczekiwań. Nie ma tu natomiast moralizatorstwa, obwiniania ofiar i najmniejszych sugestii, że przemiana bohaterki jest w jakimkolwiek stopniu karą za jej życie.
Chociaż forma "Świństwa" nie każdego zachwyci, to nie sposób odmówić Darrieussecq skuteczności w osiąganiu celu. Prostota języka, prostolinijność bohaterki, jej bierność, akceptacja stanu rzeczy, uległość i dystans wobec spotykającego ją okrucieństwa sprawiają, że przekaz wybrzmiewa tym mocniej: najokrutniejsza i najszybciej rozprzestrzeniająca się przemoc rodzi się z dehumanizacji, sprowadzenia drugiego człowieka do roli przydatnego przedmiotu, źródła przyjemności i rozrywki lub przeciwnie, przeszkody do zlikwidowania. Brak czynnego oporu nie sprawia, że ofiara przestaje być ofiarą. Normalizowanie patologii i uznanie ruchów wykluczających za równoważny głos w dyskusji publicznej prowadzi do apokalipsy.
24 lata od premiery, ale patrząc na wyniki wyborów na całym świecie i radosne odradzanie się neofaszyzmu, wnioski nie zostały wyciągnięte. Nie należy się więc przejmować się, że dziś "Świństwo" nie brzmi juz rewolucyjnie - w Polsce to wciąż lektura na czasie, ostatecznie te ćwierć wieku to mniej więcej tyle, ile jesteśmy zapóźnieni społecznie.
Profile Image for Jana.
1,096 reviews444 followers
September 21, 2015
I don't like when women go overboard with their physical analysis adding feminism and irony. In this story a seductive woman became a pig and her lover became a wolf. And it was boring. Yes, I understand. Women are still seen as meat, men are still predators. I can handle that and I didn’t surround myself with people who think like this and professionally every job is a battle. Tough shit but unfortunately that's life. I hated Good in bed by Jennifer Weiner and although wtf! this is so not the same genre but the same female nagging is present. Like a word pig, eating like a pig, counting calories defines me as much as word wolf defines men. This is something that I don't like to read in my free time. The same and constant bullshit that can be read in Cosmopolitan as on feminist.com just with different front cover package.
Profile Image for Molly.
77 reviews3 followers
August 6, 2007
This book is about a girl with an excellent work ethic who gets a job at a perfume shop/brothel and slowly transforms into a pig. Oh, she is just the most honest, hard working girl ever. The author pulls off one of the best tranformation sequences that I have read. Very worthwhile reading, albeit the ending is a little far fetched.
Profile Image for Claire.
Author 6 books3 followers
February 1, 2010
A failed satire: it isn't ironic when people really think of women as meat.
Profile Image for Fede.
209 reviews
July 21, 2020
Hell, this IS weird. Witty, dirty, baroque, and cleverly written. In short, everything I like in satire.
Some reviewers describe the subject as a cliché, one in very bad taste for that matter, which is way too shallow and reductive. In my humble opinion this book is not about 'women being treated like meat in a consumerist men's world', but rather about women seeing themselves as meat and behaving accordingly. That's quite different, isn't it?
In fact the author is not too fond of subtlety, since the protagonist of her 1996 novel is a not-so-brilliant Parisian girl working in a perfumery/massage parlour/brothel as a shop assistant (whose functions range from selling cosmetics to prostitution, mostly at the same time) who ends up turning into a sow.
Quite literally, that is. Both physically and mentally.

I particularly liked the setting, sort of a semi-dystopian Paris à la Boris Vian, permeated with sex and violence and a sense of impending, grotesque catastrophe. Grotesque, indeed: despite being very explicit, the juiciest scenes are more of a caricature of sex and violence, reminding one of Terry Gilliam's "Brazil" or David Lynch's atmospheres - between dark and parody.

The perfect summer read, short and funny without ever being silly or poorly written. Possibly a good 'entremet' between two thicker, tougher books.
A little dirty treat.
Profile Image for Sportyrod.
464 reviews16 followers
April 20, 2022
Hilarious, clever, juvenile, addictive, perfection.

The concept of a masseur turning into a pig is irresistable to me. The humour of it all is up there with Hairspray. I love it so much. I was laughing and smiling so much.

Aside from the humour, involving the mortification of this process happening to someone, it was an incredibly clever message about the mistreatment of women. The protagonist metamorphosed at the same rate as she was being exploited, objectified and abused by men. There is a quote on the book cover that captures the sentiment superbly, “If all men are pigs, then what can a woman do but turn into a sow”.

This is one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I will be sharing this book with lots of people.
Profile Image for Kenza Meliani.
12 reviews1 follower
April 13, 2021
J'ai sûrement loupé le coche (plutôt le cochon) de ce roman que je trouve sans grand intérêt si ce n'est peut-être le talent descriptif de Marie Darrieussecq. Je n'ai probablement pas réussi à lire entre les lignes (de couenne) ce qui est regr-étable. Sur fond de régime autoritaire, de pénurie et d'anthropomorphisme, une femme s'embourbe dans un quotidien pathétique et semble subir sa vie jusqu'à ne plus en avoir la maîtrise. Déroutant et lassant.
Profile Image for Szymon.
164 reviews14 followers
February 23, 2018
Bardzo, bardzo mocna. Miejscami okropna i ohydna, miejscami magiczna, a momentami piękna - na pewno zasłużenie głośna.
Człowieczeństwo, społeczeństwo, my - wszystko przez pryzmat tego gdzie się co kończy, gdzie są granice. Podkreślone przez cykl przemian człowiek-maciora-człowiek.
Wielka literatura, choć niespecjalnie "przyjemna" lektura.
Profile Image for La Repisa de Elena.
281 reviews46 followers
February 28, 2022
Esta sorprendente novela describe el proceso de degeneración de la protagonista hasta que acaba convertida en una cerda.
Es inevitable comparar esta novela con “la metamorfosis”de Kafka..
Marranadas es una sátira del capitalismo y el poder masculino que coloca a las mujeres como objetos .
Un libro “raro” que sin duda da para hablar.

Si lo has leído, ¿ qué opinión tienes?
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