Nation ~ Terry Pratchett

September 2, 2009 at 8:03 PM | Posted in Reading, teen fiction, YA | Leave a comment

Nation begins with the main character, Mau, believing a tidal wave has left only one survivor from the Nation… himself. He returns to the Nation, scared and alone. Then a girl shows up… and the fantastic and, I’ll admit, just plain weird masterpiece gets started. Everything I’ve heard of Terry Pratchett made me believe his books were, I’ll admit, just plain weird. But this went a bit beyond it and didn’t give me a very secure foundation to build an opinion on at first.

(But you are talking to a contemporary romance writer here).

 However, I soon began to admire an author who tries on a new skin occasionally. Pratchett was stepping away from Discworld, and I think anyone who went into Nation realizing it wasn’t Pratchett’s “old stuff” and picked it up for the book itself would find this a completely enjoyable read, after slogging through the somewhat-slow beginning From what I have read of Pratchett’s other works, there is more depth in Nation, more emotion. However, there is not as much of Pratchett’s signature humor.

Terry Pratchett can say it better than anyone:

 Now, to complete our little post, a few questions about Nation that I and another TWFT Admin, (Horserider!) answered concerning Nation.

Nation is a little unusual for Terry Pratchett. It isn’t like his other books. Are you glad he went out of the box for this one? Race: most of us at TWFT have not read too many Terry Pratchett books, and this was a definite eye opener. But I think I can say any process the author had to go through to write this book was a good thing. It was an excellent work, and if we could only get it by having Pratchett think outside the box, then I’m all for it.

Did you make a personal connection with the main character? Did you feel driven to continue reading because of the character? Or was it the plot that attracted you? Horserider: It was the plot that kept me reading. There were more than a few spots where I wanted to just put it down and go read something that was calling me (I hate it when that happens) but I just kept getting sucked back in.

How do you feel about Daphne’s choice to return to England? How did the ending of the book work for you? Horserider: I hated the ending, but that’s personal opinion. When I finished it it was like ‘that sucks’ meaning how it ended. The ending works, but I was hoping for something a little happier. Just me though.
As a writer, is there anything you would change about the book?
Race: I simply felt the beginning could have been tighter. The book is not a “casual” read at all, but I feel asking the reader to get through that opening was still just a little too much.

Who was your favorite character? Horserider: Mine was Daphne. I just liked her, though her attitude at the beginning kind of annoyed me. Where she felt that she had to do the ‘proper thing.’

How did you feel about Daphne’s father becoming king and changing at the end of the book? Horserider: I loved that. Though, seriously, how did 138 people die? I loved when he stood up to grandmother though. Bet she was shocked.

And a question for our writing readers: In Nation, Daphne says a metaphor is “a kind of a lie to help you understand what’s true.” As a writer who probably works with metaphors daily, how do you feel about that quote?


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