Pig’s Foot – Carlos Acosta

Pig's Foot - Carlos AcostaPig’s Foot
Carlos Acosta

One day Oscar Kortico wakes to find himself utterly alone in the world. As the sole descendant of his family line he is not sure what to do or where he should go, but in the midst of this uncertainty, he holds fast to what his grandfather always told him: ‘No man knows who he is until he knows his past, the history of his country.’

As he sets out to find the lost village of Pata de Puerco and the meaning of the magical pig’s-foot amulet he has inherited, the search for his country’s hidden history becomes entangled with his search for the truth about himself.

Through a vivid, if not entirely reliable, retelling of the stories of his ancestors we live the tumultuous history of Cuba through Oscar’s eyes, from the arrival of slaves through the wars of independence, to Bacardi rum, dictatorship, revolution and, finally, to a freedom of sorts.

I wanted so badly to like this book. I’d read reviews comparing Carlos Acosta’s writing to that of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who is my favourite author. Needless to say, I was excited and later horribly disappointed when this book fell short for me.

It wasn’t the writing style; Acosta’s writing is fluid and unique with a very charismatic narrator. The narration of Pig’s Foot was one of my favourite bits of the book and most of the reason I gave it two stars instead of one.

The setting wasn’t the problem either. I read a lot of South American and Hispanic literature so it wasn’t that I couldn’t relate or understand where or even when the story was taking place.

I think my biggest problem came 1/3 of the way in when I found myself asking, “What’s the point? Why do I care about this story and these people?” I felt no compulsion to keep turning pages and I didn’t really feel involved in the book as I felt I should have. I simply didn’t care about the characters or about how the whole thing ended.. and that included the weak plot twist.

Looking at other reviews, I’m relieved to see that I’m not alone. This is one book you’ll either love emphatically or strongly dislike. Sadly, I’m in the second camp.


Steph is a Kentucky gal who uprooted her life in the USA and moved to London for love. Ever the hopeless romantic, she enjoys sappy movies, a glass of white wine (or two) and a good book, or three or five… this girl is all about the books. Her current kryptonite is the TV show Sons of Anarchy which she regularly binges on in a most unhealthy manner. When not reading, Steph seeks out new adventures and to date has abseiled Battersea Power Station, bungee-jumped and run various races and triathlons. Disclaimer: she is by no means athletically fit and usually complains for days after each infrequent gym visit.


  1. It’s a shame you didn’t feel invested in the characters, I think it’s really important that the author injects something into their characters which makes them at relatable to some degree. I’m pleased you included some merit of the book with regards to its narrative style – a balanced criticism!

    Nell at And Nell Writes

  2. I couldn’t get on with this book either. Like you, I just wondered what was the point in it all! It’s a shame, as you say, the writing isn’t bad!

  3. Wow… I am so glad it wasn’t just me not being able to get into this book!

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