Pyg by Russell Potter
The Memoirs of Toby, the Learned Pig

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A heartwarming debut introduces readers to the adventures of its overachieving porcine narrator

Blending the sophisticated satire of Jonathan Swift with the charming exuberance of a Pixar film, Pyg tells the story of Toby, a truly exceptional pig who lived in late eighteenth-century England. After winning the blue ribbon at the Salford Livestock Fair and escaping the butcher's knife, Toby tours the country, wowing circus audiences with his abilities to count, spell, and even read the minds of ladies (but only with their permission, of course). He goes on to study at Oxford and Edinburgh—encountering such luminaries as Samuel Johnson, Robert Burns, and William Blake—before finally writing his own life story. Quirky, beguiling, and endlessly entertaining, this memoir of a "remarkable sapient pig" is a sharp and witty delight.


About Russell Potter

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RUSSELL POTTER is a professor of English at Rhode Island College. Pyg is his first novel. He lives in Providence, Rhode Island.
Published July 31, 2012 by Penguin Books. 288 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Pyg

Publishers Weekly

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Toby becomes a sensation, touring England, Scotland, and Ireland, and meeting some of the celebrated figures of the era, including Samuel Johnson, Robert Burns, poet Anna Seward, William Blake, actress Sarah Siddons, and, tellingly, William Wilberforce, an English member of Parliament who was an ...

May 14 2012 | Read Full Review of Pyg: The Memoirs of Toby, the...

BC Books

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It's a very heady life for a young pig and boy - indeed I think it would be for anyone whether on two feet or four - and when circumstances, some of them perilous and quite dangerous, present themselves Toby finds himself desiring to step out of the performing spotlight and continue his education.

Jul 29 2012 | Read Full Review of Pyg: The Memoirs of Toby, the...

We Love This Book

In many ways, this story of Toby’s life could be considered very normal for a citizen of the time, as he progresses from his humble beginnings to success with the assistance of a good education.

Mar 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Pyg: The Memoirs of Toby, the...

Seattle PI

As each page seemed to fly by I found myself no only believing Potter was an immensely talented and capable author but that Toby, the learned pig who was the purported true "author" of the book with Potter simply editing his porcine scribblings, was the damnedest pig I'd ever had the pleasure of ...

Jul 29 2012 | Read Full Review of Pyg: The Memoirs of Toby, the...

It is Sam who clandestinely teaches Toby to read with some grasp of meaning, and thereby to stir his curiosity, his hunger for self-improvement The main body of the memoir becomes a miscellany of events and destinations, revealing the wonderful sapient pig touring through Lancashire, where his ne...

Dec 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Pyg: The Memoirs of Toby, the...


The nearest thing in nature to the flesh of a man is the flesh of a pig.” Likewise, George Orwell made the villain in Animal Farm a pig, and ended that novel with the assertion that the “creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again;

Nov 22 2012 | Read Full Review of Pyg: The Memoirs of Toby, the...

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