The Blind Pig by Elizabeth Dougherty
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Living in a world of foodies, it’s hard to imagine the world you’re thrust into in The Blind Pig. Angela Anselm, an investigative journalist, is a firm advocate of the NArc (Nutritional Architecture System). The system, which dispenses artificial food according to your body’s daily needs, has succeeded in eliminating disease and increasing lifespans. The crisis that had resulted in large lines of Americans lining up at clinics waiting to be treated has finally been resolved - even if it was at the cost of taste, texture, variety, and free will. Diabetes, cancer and obesity are all things of the past. When a follower of her struggling nutrition column is found dead of “Cheating”, Angela takes up Lieutenant Potente’s challenge to break into the illegal Cheating/Foodie - world and bring them to justice. Except, what she finds is the opposite of what she expected.
The Blind Pig is a science-fiction novel that invites you to slow down and savour the world that you live in. Whilst the myth of long life and no illnesses is one that sounds inviting at first, the more you learn about it, the more questions arise. Is genetically engineered food good? Are there any other side effects? Would you give up the real thing for a substitute grown in labs that doesn’t taste as good just for the health benefits?
The novel isn’t a quick read. It’s evenly - if a bit slowly - paced. There’s no risky shoot-outs or a lot of running and hiding from the cops. Instead, it’s a steady build-up of risk and trust from Angela’s first exposure to the Foodies, her first Real Meal, her column that’s agitating the system and the overwhelming pressure to choose a side.
Angela tries to be balanced. NArc, for all its faults, has benefited mankind tremendously. But at what cost? On the other hand, real natural (but now illegal) food, if prepared right, has all the nutrition that mankind needs. But is it safe? Living in a food paradise that’s all about taste, I know which way I’d vote.
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