Nation by Terry Pratchett
Publication: Harper Collins (first published 2008), Hardcover, 400pg
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult
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The sea has taken everything.
Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.
Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne's sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down. . . . (from Amazon)
I love love love love this book. There aren’t enough “loves” in the world to express how much I absolutely adore this book, and I’m not even sure I can write a good enough review to convince you all, either.
I’ve read other Terry Pratchett books before, mostly Discworld series ones, so I was expecting Nation to be in the same vein as them. I was actually pleasantly surprised to find that it’s not like a Discworld book at all; it’s got humorous bits in it, of course, and there’s a few footnotes scattered throughout, but it’s nowhere on the same hilarity level as the Discworld books are. Instead, it’s a sensitive, wonderful story about death and growing up and religion and even colonialism, and it’s told in a way that makes it all bearable without turning it into a farce.
The characters are spectacular, even the mean ones: full of depth and humanness and now I sound all soppy but it’s true, really. I couldn’t get enough of them. The story zipped by really quickly, mostly because I couldn’t stop reading, and though the ending isn’t what I wanted, it does stay true to the story and to life in general. Doesn’t mean I didn’t start crying afterwards, though. (But it’s not really a sad ending, just not a fairy-tale-happy-ending one.)
There’s philosophical queries into religion and gods and people and nations and SO MUCH MORE. Also romance! And strong female characters! And a wonderful setting that makes me want to move to the Polynesian islands right now, please.
I think I’ll stop here before I start gushing over everything, but seriously: if you haven’t read this book already, you need to do so right now and then we can gush about it together.
Read: March 2009