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Pigtopia by Kitty Fitzgerald: in a cruel world, one unlikely friendship struggles to survive . . .

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‘Mam says that dad was pigflesh and pigmind, a huge mucky porker that nabbed her by force, then jogtrotted off beyond the farlands when he understood what had been hatched . . .’

Jack is a ‘freak’ kept away from school in his youth and shunned by his local community in adulthood due to his terrible physical deformities. Holly is a young girl growing up alone with her mother, facing the pains and frustrations of a belated adolescence and of having to deal with the the threat she sees posed by her mum’s new boyfriend.

When these two lonely souls unexpectedly come together, and form a bond around the pigs that Jack rears in secret, they realise they must keep their friendship hidden from the prejudices and intolerance of those around them. But with Jack’s abusive mother dying, and with Holly’s supposed best-friend, Samantha, determined to cause trouble, how long can they keep their secret?

Part-dark moral fable and part-domestic drama, Pigtopia is a tale of violence and foreboding. It is also though a story of compassion, escape and the faint hope of redemption. Narrated alternately by the beautifully rendered voices of Jack and Holly, it will be loved by anyone who has ever felt shunned or alone.