Originally posted on The Nerd Daily.
Animal Farm meets Thankskilling in Josh Malerman’s Pearl [Del Ray Books, October 12, 2021], when grisly, ghastly, gnashing terror washes the rural town of Chowder’s farmland red.
There’s something wrong about the Kopple farm. The farmer’s daughter, Sherry, knows. Her sons know. The local cops know. School kids know. Even the farmer, Walter Kopple, knows. Something is wrong about the farm. It’s the pigs. No, it’s one pig--Pearl. Pearl, with his misshapen mass and dead man’s eye. Something is wrong with Pearl.
When the piglet called Pearl first comes to Kopple’s farm, Walter quickly realises Pearl isn’t just another pig. Maybe it has something to do with what’s behind the flap of skin covering where one of his eyes should be, or perhaps it’s the curious creep of the animal’s voice in the farmer’s mind (“Sing for me”). Whatever it is, Walter finds himself unable to slaughter Pearl, unable to resist Pearl. Instead, he teaches him—language, meaning, context. But this is only the beginning, because while Walter is teaching, Pearl is learning, and soon he will be ready for his own form of instruction.
Previously published as On This, The Day of the Pig, Malerman’s Pearl is, on the surface, a terrifying examination of sentience, but the porcine panic runs deeper, bleeding into a tale of suffering and ache, of the cruelty mankind oft delivers on those deemed “lesser than,” and the bloody consequences of when those “others” rise.
Pearl is available from Amazon, Book Depository, and other good book retailers, like your local bookstore.
Lindy Miller Ryan is an author, editor, and spooky things enthusiast who occasionally makes crafty things and bakes.