by Russell Potter
Beautifully presented and hugely enjoyable, ‘Pyg’ is the tale of Toby the Celebrated Sapient Pig, commencing with his escape from the butcher and subsequent journeys across Britain and Ireland, peppered with Latin quotes and other examples of his great learning.
The cod- 18th century style is written as a first-person memoir, with echoes of Boswell’s travelogues, Gulliver, Tristram Shandy and Fanny Hill, and all perfectly rendered in an appropriate typeface. Start to finish, it feels absolutely real, brilliantly done and a delight from start to finish. My only real complaint is that I’d have liked to have heard more of Sam. Other characters in the narrative are wonderfully rendered and round, but poor Sam, Toby’s saviour, benefactor and constant companion, has virtually no voice at all, only mentioned here and there as a seeming afterthought, which was a shame.
I think ‘Pyg’ would be a wonderful way to introduce children to eighteenth century syntax and style before throwing the full weight of Swift and Defoe at them.