Friday, July 4, 2008

Book Report: Making Money by Terry Pratchett

There are only two authors who work I will acquire without so much as looking at the cover. One is Tim Powers, the other is Terry Pratchett. This latest Discworld novel, the 36th(!) in the series, contains everything that I read Pratchett for: a cunning plot in a world that is an absurd, fantasy funhouse-mirror of our own, and a wicked, pointed, satiric humor. What elevates him above other satirists is his genuine affection for the world and the characters that infest it. In all his work, the villains are sympathetic, misguided, desperate, and their evil is understandable although no less evil for that. His heroes are unlikely, and have to fight their own less-than-heroic nature as often as they have to oppose the villain's schemes.

This time, he focuses again on Moist Von Lipwig, the hero of Going Postal who finds himself thrust into the job of Chairman for a bank on the verge of collapse. The parallels to our current economic times (on both sides of the Atlantic) are many, but our world doesn't have complicating factors like a chief clerk who is a savant with a hidden past that involves custard, a malevolent pair of dentures, a bank owner with a unique approach to an identity crisis, and the imminent arrival of a handful of golems who may be made of gold, or possibly more than a handful.

Pratchett makes beautiful work, and this one goes on my shelf beside every one of his other books. I will take it down again and again, sometimes to read just the occasional passage and sometimes to read the whole thing through again.

Ulysses Rating: 5 - I will read this again and again.

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