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The New York Times: "This very funny novel examines a town’s heightened ignorance and hostility towards foreigners, and what it means to be a “true” Italian, even if the native in question is a small pig."

Date: Apr 23 2014

It sounds like the beginning of a joke: A pig walks into a mosque. But in Amara Lakhous’s second novel, set in Turin, in northern Italy, this incident touches off a minor war between a local group of Muslims and a Nigerian man, Joseph, who adores his pet pig, Gino, and claims innocence on Gino’s behalf. Enlisted to mediate is Joseph’s neighbor Enzo Lagana, a cynical newspaperman trying to satisfy animal rights activists, offended Muslims and a group demanding political asylum for Gino. Seven Romanians and Albanians, meanwhile, have been killed in Turin within a few days. Caught off guard by his editor when asked to investigate, Enzo invents a mafia feud– and the story becomes so big that he’s forced to sustain the hoax. This very funny novel examines a town’s heightened ignorance and hostility towards foreigners, and what it means to be a “true” Italian, even if the native in question is a small pig.

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