Forenk, the unlucky son of pig farmers, shamed into leaving home as an outcast, begins an odyssey to uncover his destiny as the last mortal capable of fathering divine beings. Along the way he meets his guardians and companions, erotic angels and slightly deranged magic-users who attempt to protect Forenk from his nemesis, a wrathful witch goddess and her demons, including a possessed psycho squirrel ancestor spirit, whose aim is to win back the lands lost in time out of mind. The Goddess of Pigland is a humorous and mature illustrated satire of the hero’s journey, mythic archetypes and the fantasy genre. An legendary epic filtered through absurd humor and Freudian dreams.
Warnings: mentions of bestiality, violence, fecal matter
The Goddess of Pigland is a comedy fantasy epic filled with surrealism and a dry sense of humour. It follows the adventures of Forenk, a poor pig farmer in the country of Pigland who ends up being the son of deities and must go on a quest to come into his inheritance as a progenitor of new godspawns. Basically, every girl he meets wants him to fuck them so that they can make god babies. It’s a very odd book, and is quite the tongue-in-cheek parody of the hero’s journey fantasy genre, and despite it’s sexual premise isn’t actually as explicit as expected. Apparently written and illustrated over the span of 12 years, this is just as epic in the making as in the reading, and one author’s lifelong masterpiece of sex, fart, and poop jokes. (And that is a very loving observation, let me tell you; this sort of oddity delights me.)
The author is actually quite good at weaving very witty turns of phrase and filling the text with clever puns and quips. I was surprised just how often I laughed out loud reading this, grinning at a string of alliteration or a stupid name for a place. It reminded me very much of Monty Python, and I could just see in my mind’s eye a film adaptation of this ala Holy Grail. The story is incredibly simple and threadbare but the prose carries it’s characters through each stupid trial with comedic flair. It’s not exactly high-brow comedy, but it did have me in stitches.
It is also an illustrated novel, and every so often there are drawings by the author showcasing key moments in the text. These drawings are rough, but fascinating, images that I am ever so glad the author included. It gives even more of a sense of scope to the text and an immersion into what is a uniquely bizarre world.
This was a really unique reading experience in the emotional engagement department. While there isn’t any real depth of emotional connection to any of these characters, it kind of feels like not only is there not really supposed to be, but that the lack of caring about the characters is in fact part of it’s charm and what makes it enjoyable. I loved not giving a shit about anyone in this book, which is again very in keeping in the tradition of titles like Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Everyone is kind of bland, forgettable, and stupid and that’s why so much of the humor works. You feel like you really wouldn’t care if the entire world of Pigland was destroyed horribly because no matter what transpire,s it’s going to be entertaining, which is a really rare kind of feeling to get from a piece of fiction. I didn’t hate any of the characters, but I didn’t feel connected to any of them, and that feeling of separation from them adds to the surrealist charm of the narrative.
The worldbuilding here is great! The comedic nature of the story relies heavily on it’s setting being incredibly dirty and disgusting. Like, it’s really, really, gross. The entire setting is filled with grime. Little villages of pig farmers covered in shit, living in huts made out of shit, gross men covered in grease and lice, fishing villages with the smell of racid fish lingering in thae air… the whole entirety of the setting is just absolutely gross, which makes it all feel interconnected and complete. There’s a religious mandate from the pig goddess not to bathe, so everyone in the setting is perpetually dirty and stinky, and each new location unveils new smells as new kinds of living in filth and squalor is unveiled. The religion of the land is also pretty darn well explored, from the war between the squirrel god and the mud god, to the priests and druids working under the gods. It all connects well together to form the most dirty parody fantasy setting I have ever seen and I thought it was hilarious and charming. There’s nobody intelligent, there’s nobody with good hygiene, there’s nobody that doesn’t leer disgustingly at breasts when breasts are in their line of sight. It’s just, overall, an incredibly grimy setting.
While the overall nature of the story is overtly sexual, and Forenk is constantly having sexual encounters with beautiful women, each one more beautiful than the last, the actual sex scenes are not overly explicit. They are typically done within a paragraph that waxes a little vaguely about “doing what comes natural” rather than visual blow-by-blows of the action itself. Which is surprising, considering that the sexual element is so deeply laced throughout the entire fabric of the story. Forenk’s two angel companions are sex workers sent to guide him, Forenk himself is destined to father many god children with his divine seed, and everyone they meet tries to cop a feel on either the angels or Forenk himself. The text and characters make frequent reference to the fact that the men of Pigland fuck their pigs, though there are no scenes depicting such. There is also a generally vague feeling that the author might actually have a scat fetish from the amount that the text fixates on fecal matter and flatulence. There are some nude illustrations, though no visual depictions of the sex acts themselves.
This is one of the stranger books I have ever come across and I am so very glad I did. It far exceeded my expectations, was a hilarious ride, and full of very strange happenings and characters. I’m always delighted to come across a piece of outsider art like this, as I think that it expands my perception of art and creativity. As long as you are not easily grossed out, I would recommend anyone to read this for a change of literary pace as it really is quite funny.
Have you read The Goddess of Pigland? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!