They're Cows, We're Pigs by Carmen Boullosa

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The emerging societies of the Caribbean in the seventeenth century were a riotous assembly of pirates, aristocrats, revolutionaries, and rogues -- outcasts and fortune seekers all. In They're Cows, We're Pigs, acclaimed Mexican novelist Carmen Boullosa animates this world of bloody chaos and uncertain possibility through the eyes of the young Jean Smeeks, kidnapped in Flanders at age thirteen and sold into indentured servitude on Tortuga, the mythical Treasure Island. Trained in the magic of medicine by le Negre Miel, an African slave healer, and Pineau, a French-born surgeon, Smeeks signs on as a medical officer with the pirate band the Brethren of the Coast. Transformed by the looting and violence of pirate life, Smeeks finds himself both healer and despoiler, servant and mercenary, suspended between the worlds of the law-abiding, tradition-bound "cows" and the freely roaming and raiding "pigs."

About Carmen Boullosa

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Carmen Boullosa is the author of many plays, works of poetry, and novels, among them Leaving Tabasco and They're Cows, We're Pigs. She was recently included in the landmark collection Reversible Monuments: An Anthology of Contemporary Mexican Poetry. Geoff Hargreaves lives in New York City.
Published December 1, 2007 by Grove Press. 196 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for They're Cows, We're Pigs

Kirkus Reviews

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0-8021-1610-8): This first English translation of a popular Mexican author reputedly akin to Garc°a M†rquez is in fact a tedious tale (set mainly in the 17th-century Caribbean) of the life dared and enjoyed by pirates (``pigs'') as compared to the dreary mundane existence endured by ordinary peop...

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Publishers Weekly

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After learning medicine from a native healer and a French surgeon, Smeeks signs on to be a medical officer in a marauding brotherhood of pirates, or ""pigs."" As the story unfolds, the reader is treated to a running commentary on the difference between the ""pigs""--who envision their life as dem...

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Entertainment Weekly

Jean Smeeks, the French narrator of this darkly picaresque novel, They're Cows, We're Pigs, boards a slave ship to the West Indies, apprentices with a native medicine man, is bought by a surgeon, and joins a band of pirates who storm the high seas.

Jun 13 1997 | Read Full Review of They're Cows, We're Pigs

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