Reader Reviews

"A delicious book. A reminder of the risks, the drama and the quite extraordinary comedy of being born with a snout, four hooves and a corkscrew tail." -- Marie Darrieussecq, author of Pig Tales

"If you read one quirky, intelligent, original book this year, this would be my top choice." -- Robin Black, author of  If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This.

"Was there really a pig who could read and write English? Reading this finely-crafted narrative is like watching an expert magician perform. Deep down you know it couldn't be real, yet from the first page onward, there is a nagging feeling that maybe, just maybe, it might have really happened ... The real joy of Pyg is the language. At first the slightly archaic terms and spelling might seem off-putting, but by the second page they meld into the rich and sonorous voice of Toby, which sweeps you along for the next 230 pages. The book ends with a generous section of historical notes. It turns out that most (or all) of the people and places which appear in the narrative actually existed ... At the end you'll feel happy at having just enjoyed a well-told, unique and eccentric story, and you'll be scratching your head wondering just how much of it was true. Finally, if you can get your hands on the original British hardcover edition, you won't regret it. Rarely do you find books these days with so much craft put into the design. From the exquisite, tactile cover to the slightly yellowed paper to the typeface, which mimics the look of 18th Century metal type, the book is a treasure to hold and look at." Larry Feign, author of How the Animals Do It

"Pure delight from start to finish ... Toby is a pig for the ages; move over Wilbur, this one can conjugate Latin verbs!" -- Jeremy Dibbell, at PhiloBiblos

Every so often a comic novel comes along that provides relief from the other genres and Russell Potter’s Pyg is a tour de force … Potter perfectly captures the style of literature from that period as he tells how Toby and Sam join a traveling circus and become a national sensation. In time Toby earns top university spots at Oxford and Edinburgh where he meets the era’s luminaries such as Samuel Johnson, Robert Burns and William Blake. It’s a lot of fun. -- Alan Caruba

"A marvelous book which accurately portrays 18th century Britain ... What makes this story really wonderful is that no one in it appears to think it beyond belief that a pig could learn to read, spell, and even learn Latin. It seems a perfectly natural thing. Please read it. It deserves a wide, appreciative audience." -- Linda at

"PYG is a charming piece, written in mock-eighteenth century style, as if it were an eighteenth century manuscript stored in a British library and brought to modern readers complete with footnotes, introduction and other scholarly apparatus ... Russell Potter's novel vividly captures the hand-to-mouth existence of many touring theatricals during the eighteenth century, where they had to cope with unruly audiences as well as money-grasping managers. Extensively researched and entertainingly told, it is testament to the power of stoicism and self-belief." -- Lawrence Raw at

"Having Toby as narrator of the story works well. The first-person (or, more correctly, first-pig) narrative is written with such excellence, and from such a uniquely porcine perspective, that the entire tale has a palpable sense of authenticity. The reader is on Toby's side from the start, rooting for the lovable pig throughout his myriad adventures, and fearing for his safety when he finds himself in danger. To anchor the book stylistically in the late 18th Century, Russell Potter has written it in eloquent old-school prose. Even the typeface (Caslon Antique, created in the late 1890s) and capitalisation of key words are true to the 18th Century style. The story never feels implausible, which is testament to Russell Potter's literary prowess and the lovability of Toby as a main character. A life-enriching book." -- Mark Rice at

"This a truly amazing little book. As pig owners of long standing, my husband & I were enchanted to read this historical account written from a pig's perspective of his life's adventures and his outlook on life having had his "bacon" saved by his beloved friend Sam. This wonderful little book, written in later 18th Century style and humour - and a font to match, is a joy to read ... I found this book like stepping back into the past in reading material,this trend is following Jamrach's Menagerie which I also loved and forecast correctly its rise (now #262 in fictionbooks) I forecast great things for this tome by Russell Potter, and look forward to more writing from Mr Potter. This would prove an excellent choice for Christmas"-- rhosymynydd "liz", amazon vine reviewer

"Toby was a very likeable character and, from early in the book, I knew I'd be sorry to reach the final page. The book is written in the style of the time - there are plenty of capitalisations and some words are spelt differently to now - and there are plenty of guest appearances from the period's big names. (Anna Seward, Doctor Samuel Johnson and Doctor William Adams, for example, all appear as friends and admirers of Toby). I did smile at one point, when Toby's travels took him through Tamworth. I'm sure he'd have been delighted to learn how, so many years later, he inspired the Tamworth Two to make their own bolt for freedom. With the lead character a pig, the obvious description would be a sort of Babe or Charlotte's Web for grown-ups - though I'd see quite a bit in common with Firmin by Sam Savage too. A hugely enjoyable, very well-written book and totally recommended." -- Craobh Rua, amazon vine reviewer

One of my 9 year old twin daughters picked up Pyg because the book just looked so appealing and I was engrossed in another novel, so I encouraged her to read it. [She] loved the book, finding it funny (particularly the cat opera which she could imagine our own cats performing) and she thought the misspelt words were funny and enjoyed pointing them out to me. She really loved Toby and wished she could have a pet pig.....but it didn't put her off sausages tonight for tea! I also enjoyed the book, finding it all very cheery, amusing and heartwarming. I love any book that makes me feel an emotion and Pyg did just that.....hugely enjoyable, cleverly written and out of the ordinary. Now my other 9 year old is queing to have a read....what better recommendation can I give?

-- FLB (amazon vine reviewer)