Thursday, 6 November 2008

Terry Pratchett Recommended Reading: Nation

 Nation by Terry Pratchett


The first non-Discworld Novel in many, many years*.

Nation was very recently released, and I have to put it here. Nation is NOT a Discworld book, it's sadder and more serious and more sensible and far more openly philosophical. Nation is the perfect introduction to Pratchett, and while it catches a Discworld veteran off-guard with it's lack of black humour and slower, soberer pace, it makes up for it in depth. And the few moments of crazed Pratchett wickedness stand out even more strongly.
It's also a big book - the hardback has a beautiful cover, one that doesn't scream 'garish fantasy novel', the writing is quite large (as is typical in larger hardbacks) and it is long enough to be well worth the money.

What is it about? Well, think an alternate Victorian age, plague and a lost heir, as well as disasters on tiny equatorial islands... and the slow coming to terms with other ways of life, and thought, and piecing yourself back together. Think of dolphins. And gods, and traditions, and the sudden loss of everything.
Those who have read the Nomes stories will recognise the confusion of a tiny world suddenly exposed to the outside and learning that actually, they are so small they don't even appear on any maps.

If you need a book to give for Christmas, it is this one. But be warned, you may need to buy more than family's already fighting over our copy.

*By Pratchett, that is. All those hundreds of thousands of other so-called books don't count

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