Friday, December 26, 2008

Book Report: Nation, by Terry Pratchett

This is not a Discworld book, which surprised me. I've read so many of them that I think part of me had become convinced that Discworld was all he wrote. It takes place instead on an alternate Earth, a little changed both in history and geography. Another change is the tone of the book. A kind of silly, joyous meditation on human nature fills much of his Discworld work. This book contains a more somber, thoughtful story, one which borders on melancholy. It still has Pratchett's humour in it, moments of absurdity or situation comedy or turns of phrase which made me laugh.

It is about the weight of the past and the lure of the future, about what makes children adults, about Gods, Religion, hope and despair... about reconciling dreams with reality. A primitive boy, whose home island is destroyed by a tidal wave on the day he is to become a man, encounters a shipwrecked girl from a 19th century England. They come together to ensure their own survival, and soon find themselves making a home for dozens of other refugees. As their population grows, they face sharks, pirates, cannibals and the English Empire, coming through by virtue of their intelligence and willingness to sacrifice for each other.

Ulysses Rating: 5 - I'll read this again and again.

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