Marie Darrieussecq

Marie Darrieussecq (born 3 January 1969 in Bayonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques)

Pig Tales. A Novel of Lust and Transformation (1996)

“Difficult to write one’s story when one lives in a pigsty—when one has, in fact, become a sow. Yet such is the narrator’s extraordinary adventure in this terribly sensual fable” (Marie Darrieussecq).

Upon its publication in 1996, Pig Tales, the first of Marie Darrieussecq’s novels, was met with immediate success. As one critic writing for Les Inrockuptibles (4 September 1996) observed, in reading this novel, “One laughs, yet in terror, for the metamorphosis of the narrator-as-pig reveals, in counterpoint, the aimless drifting of a society in which the pig is not always the pork.”

The story of a young woman who is slowly transformed into a sow, the novel bears strains of Kafka yet reveals, finally, an entirely original, subtly penetrating perspective. According to Libération (29 August 1996), “The theme of metamorphosis is not truly new in literature… But on this theme, the author varies with audacity and a certain raw humor, and she cultivates in her fable…a falsely innocent realism.”

In fact, the novel is particularly interested in the question of consciousness; as Darrieussecq explains in an interview with Jean-Marc Terrasse, the story’s narrator “is compelled [as a result of her transformation] to think for the first time…She becomes a person; it is the metamorphosis of a female object into a conscious woman” ( In this sense the novel is, according to the author, “The story of liberation through thought” (Terrasse 258).

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