Life, Liberty, & the Pursuit of Sausages
Orbit, Feb 21 2011, $13.99
Real Estate solicitor Polly Mayer fears she is losing her mind. First there is her coffee that someone else apparently drinks. Then there is her party dress at the dry cleaners; only problem is that the dry cleaning store is no longer at the spot where she swears she dropped off her dress. At work, someone has been counseling her clients and keeping her files current.
Desperate Polly talks to her brother Donald the jingle writer who boiled water for pasta but has an empty box. After wishing his neighbor upstairs would leave, the pest abruptly goes away. He next meets chickens arguing that they are human and a sow searching for her missing offspring, Donald muses like Sherlock Holmes until he concludes magic exists, but has run wild. With his stunned sister, he investigates the pasta fiasco only to find experts trying to control the chaos as if pigs could fly; chauvinist sows and porkers attending Harvard or Oxford are attainable except the species is so picky as to the company they keep.
This is an engaging irreverent slice of beef (don’t say slice of pork, sausage or bacon unless you are in Congress) satirical fantasy. The story line contains too many subplots that fail to gel into a cohesive tale; yet readers who appreciate something different will enjoy the insanity of Tom Holt’s chaos. Placing Gulliver’s Travels in Animal Farm, Mr. Holt provides a Theater of the Absurd as the siblings learn pigs might fly.