If you listen to my podcast with Simon Savidge, The Readers, you may hear the name Terry Pratchett once or twice. I think of him as my patron Saint of Reading. And that’s for one simple reason. He’s why I’m hooked on reading but I’ll admit that I stopped for a long while. I stopped reading between Night Watch and Monstrous Regiment.
Though I have dabbled with Tiffany Aching I have Wintersmith and I Shall Wear Midnight waiting. But I think this is the right time of year to get the best out of Wintersmith. Now that it’s cold and dark in the evenings. I got back into Terry with Unseen University last year and I followed that with carrying on with Monstrous Regiment. Then I read Going Postal. And I’m currently reading Thud! (in between other things).
This is a funny way of starting a review I know. The reason that I mention it is that everyone can become over saturated even with their favourite writers. Yes, even ones that they’ve read the last 30 odd books of. So after taking a bit of a break and easing myself back into Terry gently with familiar characters and then a story set away from Ankh-Morpork
But with Going Postal we are back in that great city and we get to meet a new character. We also get chapters. Now Moist von Lipwig isn’t what you’d call a traditional hero being a liar, cheat and thief but after being given a life or death choice – run the post office or die – he definitely goes through a life changing experience.
Pratchett’s strength and attraction is using a fantasy mirror to explore humanity – its darkness, its brightness, its oddities and its commonalities. Take the Post Office. The letters live to be delivered. And they need someone to make sure that happens.
In many ways it is absurd that a one man can resurrect a system thats been chocked to near death and been overtaken by a faster, superior system. And writing this it strikes me that it’s like the tortoise and the hare. And the tortoise should never win. Well the tortoise in this case wears a gold suit.
The other thing that having a break from something familiar is that you are able to indulge in nostalgia as well as taking in a big bit of fresh air. I’ll admit I was worried that I wouldn’t like Moist von Lipwig but he’s endearing. His understanding of pins is a perfect example. And through him an illustration of Terry’s wonderful insight into humanity.
Moist appears next in Making Money and I’m quite looking forward to that one know as I know that Moist makes things happen.