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Book Review: 'In a Pig's Ear'

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In a Pig's Ear

Current Status:
In Season
Paul Bryers
Farrar, Straus & Giroux

We gave it an A

Paul Bryers’ In a Pig’s Ear takes as its model the story of Camelot, transposes it to contemporary Central Europe, and creates a fiction as magical and absorbing as the original. The king in this case is Adam Epstein, an enormously successful Hollywood film director and a German by birth; his Merlin (and best friend) is Milan, an émigré Czech psychotherapist; his Guinevere is Jackie, a Scottish art director; and his Morgan le Fay, Magda, is an ex-Stasi spy. In his youth, Adam visited Prague and had an affair with Magda that produced a son — Dieter, now a neo-Nazi — and when he returns to Germany to make his own cinematic version of Arthur’s story, Pendragon, his past and his present collide disastrously. As in the original, this story is told by the wizard, Milan, imprisoned in an actual jail through Magda’s manipulations. We are only lucky there is such an author to channel his voice. A