When Pigs in Heaven was published m 1993, Barbara Kingsolver was already a well-established and successful author. Her third novel garnered critical and popular success and earned her a nomination for an ABBY award, the American Library Association award, the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize, and the Cowboy Hall of Fame Western Fiction Award. As in many of her other works, Pigs in Heaven focuses on the complexities of families, relationships, and communities.
In this novel, the protagonist, Taylor Greer, finds herself embroiled in a custody battle with the Cherokee Nation over her adopted Cherokee daughter named Turtle. As she struggles to keep her daughter and at the same time provide a nurturing and safe environment, Taylor is forced to re-examine and redefine her views on family and community. During the course of the story, Kingsolver introduces the issues of single motherhood, adoption, abuse, ethnic identity, and poverty. Her intermingling of politics and human drama results in a satisfying tale of love and understanding. Reviewers applaud the novel's realistic and compelling characters, its topical themes, and her insight into the complex inner workings of the human heart.