What can I say about Terry Pratchett & Discworld that hasn't been said before? His fantasy has layers inside it's layers.
Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses - until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into...a government job?
By all rights, Moist should have met his maker. Instead, it's Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, who promptly offers him a job as Postmaster. Since his only other option is a nonliving one, Moist accepts the position - and the hulking golem watchdog who comes along with it, just in case Moist was considering abandoning his responsibilities prematurely.
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Source: I purchased this book myself Audible. It is available from a variety of retailers.
Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs, published by HarperAudio (2005) / Length: 11 hrs 27 min
This is the first Discworld book about Moist von Lipwig, and is one possible (among many) starting point for newbies. There are two additional books, Making Money & Raising Steam in this sub-series, but they were sadly affected by the author's extended illness.
Terry Pratchett is in a category all his own. His writings can be nothing more than a fun romp, or they can be insightful statements on the human condition, depending on what you're looking for and willing to invest.
I especially like this one for two main reasons. First, unlike many other Discworld novels, there aren't multiple intertwined plots. I've never been a big fan of those. Second, because of the way he deconstructs the "harmless conman" character (I have always had a problem with making criminals out to be heroes). A favorite scene is where Mr. Pump tells Moist (who has always insisted he is just moving numbers around):
“You Have Stolen, Embezzled, Defrauded And Swindled Without Discrimination, Mr Lipvig, You Have Ruined Businesses And Destroyed Jobs. When Banks Fail, It Is Seldom Bankers Who Starve. Your Actions Have Taken Money From Those Who Had Little Enough To Begin With. In A Myriad Small Ways You Have Hastened The Deaths of Many. You Do Not Know Them. You Did Not See Them Bleed. But You Snatched Bread From Their Mouths And Tore Clothes From Their Backs. For Sport, Mr Lipvig. For Sport. For The Joy Of The Game.”
Moist von Lipwig: A conman who has based his career on the fact that nobody ever really sees or notices him. A main theme of the book is that he must learn to see himself for what he truly is (never a comfortable thing).
Adora Belle Dearheart: Don't let the name her parents gave her fool you. She is fondly known as Spike, or even Killer. A chain smoking & foot piercing stiletto wearing misanthrope. She sees through Moist's patter and calls him on it.
Moist & Adorabelle: He himself isn't quite sure what he see in her, but I think it's the fact that she actually sees him. She is someone with whom he can be himself.
My favorite supporting character is Mr. Pump, the golem.
Discworld is a large world consisting of more than 40 books, many of which take place in the city of Ankh-Morpork as does this one. Those who have read other books in the series will be rewarded with many in-jokes & cameos. However, new readers will still be able to get along just fine. Moist is not a native citizen, and that makes it possible to comment on the various quirks of the city without it seeming awkward.
The main setting of the book is the abandoned Post Office. It is wonderfully atmospheric (and inhabited by extremely quirky character).
Some books/movies have many endings. The book has many beginnings. It has a 9000 year prologue, a 1 month prologue, and then introduces Moist and his situation. Although some of this material might be viewed as unnecessary or could have been placed elsewhere, it serves as on-ramp into the sideways world that is Discworld and an analogy for the layers in the writing.
Although there are additional books, this one has a complete ending with no cliffhanger.
HIGHLIGHTS / CAUTIONS:
So many little things, there are endless great quotes & scenes.
- The whole concept that words have actual power and letters want to be delivered
- Moist contemplates an alternative future before choosing
- Sly Lord of the Rings reference
I COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT: Minor swearing / Some innuendo & vulgarity / Adora's cigarette habit
Character voices differentiated = Yes, but it is done mostly via subtle accents & speaking style / Opposite sex voices acceptable = Yes / Phrasing, Pacing & Pronunciation = Good / Emoting = Good / Speed = listened on 1.25, my usual
He handles the footnotes really well. And I especially enjoyed a scene when we were getting bits & pieces of various undelivered letters; he did a great job of giving each letter a different tone based on the sender & content.
Talk to Me (pretty please)
- Which is your favorite Discworld novel?
- Do you prefer to read mega series in chronological order, publication order, or something else?
- If you are a first time visitor, how did you discover my blog?
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