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The Whistle Pig    by Duck Miller order for
Whistle Pig
by Duck Miller
Order:  USA  Can
Canvasback, 2004 (2004)
*   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Duck Miller's book is unusual. It's a rather slim volume with a stark cover emblazoned with the silhouette of a groundhog or whistle pig. The introduction explains that on Groundhog Day 2003, Duck Miller hid a key in a publicly accessible spot somewhere in the United States of America. The reader's assignment is to glean clues from the text of the ten short stories and one poem that compromise The Whistle Pig. The author warns that there are many red herrings, but states that the most important part of this exercise is 'self-discovery through knowledge.'

Miller's stories, aside from containing clues to the whereabouts of the key, are filled with whimsical, nostalgic Americana. While their imagery is lush, nothing else stands out, their content being mainly exposition without climax or resolution. However, this does give each story that nostalgic, slice of life feel. The poem is the exception. While the shortest entry in the collection, 'For the Record' contains both climax and resolution. The groundhog comes out of his hole and winter changes into spring. However, while this poem relates directly to the title of the book, it does not seem to relate to the short stories.

For those who are not fans of Americana, the main appeal of The Whistle Pig is the joy of trying to figure out where the elusive key is hidden. I have a few ideas, but I am not telling you will have to read for yourself.

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