Four children live on an island that is the repository for all the world’s garbage. Garbage arrives, the children sort it, and then they feed it to a herd of pigs. The pigs are beautiful, but fierce, with sharp teeth and insatiable appetites, and they eat anything. When a boy washes ashore in a barrel, the children must decide what to do with him—is he more of the world’s detritus, meant to be fed to the pigs, or is he one of them? The novel explores questions about community, environmental responsibility, and the possibility of innocence.