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4.08  ·  Rating details ·  32,509 ratings  ·  2,904 reviews
Alone on a desert island — everything and everyone he knows and loves has been washed away in a storm — Mau is the last surviving member of his nation. He’s completely alone — or so he thinks until he finds the ghost girl. She has no toes, wears strange lacy trousers like the grandfather bird, and gives him a stick that can make fire.
Daphne, sole survivor of the wreck of t
Hardcover, 367 pages
Published September 30th 2008 by HarperCollins (first published September 2008)
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Melissa Dempsey The myth is the creation myth of Mau's Nation.…moreThe myth is the creation myth of Mau's Nation.(less)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  32,509 ratings  ·  2,904 reviews

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2016 Re-read for Sci Fi/Fantasy book club.

Seriously, does anyone else want to kick the Nobel Prize committee for not giving Pratchett the award? I wish this novel had been around when I was a kid.

older review

Philip Pullman is known, perhaps infamously, for His Dark Materials trilogy, which has been attacked because of Pullman's atheist beliefs as well as the endorsement of atheism that book represents. Pullman isn't the only writer to have been attacked due to his view on religion, and I doubt t
Feb 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people who like awesome, people who can read
Dear Terry Pratchett,
It is entirely unfair that every book of yours I read increases my estimation for you. At some point, you will no longer be able to live up to my expectations, and on that day I am probably going to cry.
Sincerely, Cait, who is *EDIT* thinking about getting got a hermit crab tattoo.

I kind of don't want to talk about the plot, because: "Native boy and English girl survive tsunami, build empire of survivors and create a nation of science!" does not convey how awesome it all is
Joey Woolfardis
Deciding what one reads for the quite particular milestone of the 1000th book read is quite something. Whilst stats are never important in any area of life (reading, playing Cricket, sex) they are incredibly fun. And, let's face it, 1000 is a ruddy good number. The importance of reading a good book on the 1000th turn was pivotal because the past few books have been, in a word, dire.

Charles Dickens was a good bet. Charles Dickens is always a good bet. Even when he dies and leaves a book unfinishe
Oct 05, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mine
Disclaimer: I'm about to wax poetic in a totally corny way. Just warning you!

I am, and have been for years, of the opinion that Pratchett is the best writer there is. He continually serves up pitch perfect depictions of spectacular characters who are both wonderfully inventive, and at the same time purposefully normal. And in every book, hidden in the hilarity, and the side splitting satire, is a perfect pearl of truth about human nature. I remember when I first found one. It was the slender and
Sean Barrs
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, 4-star-reads
Terry Pratchett is a weird and wonderful writer; his style is completely unique. There really is no other author quite like him and there will probably never be another, a true orginal. His humour is so strange, but remarkably witty. Some of the metaphors he uses are just plain genius. This is the first Terry Pratchett book I read, and I really do need to go and read some more.

This novel takes place on a wacky island full of strange creatures and even stranger people. The island's bananas are
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent, non-Discworld book by Sir Terry.

About his 2008 publication, Pratchett himself stated "I believe that Nation is the best book I have ever written, or will write."

Nation was an Honor Book in the 2009 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. Nation also won the Brit Writer's Award Published Writer of the year 2010.

So what is all the fuss about?

Taking a break from his fabulously well to do Discworld series, Pratchett introduces us to an alternate history where
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Pretty much anyone.
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.
Jul 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog, young-adult
Young Mau is a boy living on an island he knows only as the Nation. He has been sent to the Boy's Island where he must survive until he can, using only the tools of the island, build a canoe that will take him on the return voyage to the Nation. By doing so, he will prove that he is a man and the village will celebrate as he sheds his boy's soul and takes on his man's soul.

Except, when he returns, there are no fires. There are no feasts. There is no one to welcome him home. What is there is dea
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am a huge Terry Pratchett fan but have to admit I like his adult books best. His YA writings, like this one, are simpler, not as cynical and therefore not as funny. Nevertheless they are still very good.
Nation begins with a tsunami which wipes out the residents of many islands including the one where Mau ends up being the only survivor. A variety of refugees arrive over the following days and numerous entertaining events occur. Pratchett does delve quite deeply into beliefs and the existence o
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is YA so I won't give it an official review, but man is it top notch stuff. Faith and desert islands. Foul-mouthed parrots and science. It's a little like Swiss Family Robinson, a little like Casablanca, and a little like nothing I've read before. Grand great stuff. ...more
Nov 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
I suppose that after twenty-five years of writing DiscWorld novels, Terry Pratchett has earned the right to do something a bit different. And different is precisely what he does with his latest novel, "Nation."

"Nation" is a story set in a parallel universe to ours, but it's not the world of DiscWorld. (Though it could someday be, I suppose, though I hope Pratchett resists the temptation to "tie together" all his universes).

Mau is a young boy, sent on a quest to become a man by his tribe. Daphne
Jay Kristoff
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I'm not the world's biggest Terry Pratchett fan. I've tried getting into Diskworld on no less than 4 occasions, and have always stumbled by about book 4. BUT, the bride insisted I give NATION a shot because it's a stand alone, and hell, when the bride insists, the wise man listens.

So this was a pretty great book. It feels like it could have done with a *tiny* bit more... I don't know what. 'Polish' is the wrong word. I don't know what the right word is. But I read somewhere that the idea for NAT
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to David by: Jim
Shelves: adventure
Don't let the cartoonish book cover fool you, as it did me--this is a lovely story about two young people from totally different societies, in the nineteenth century. Mau is a boy who has lived on a small island for his entire life. He has just accomplished his month-long rite of passage to manhood. He returns to his home island on a canoe that he built, as a tsunami completely devastates his home. That same tsunami throws a British ship onto the uncharted island, and Daphne is the only survivor ...more
Gwen (The Gwendolyn Reading Method)
Still really liked this book, but perhaps I'm rethinking the wisdom of a white man writing a book like this. ...more
lucky little cat
One of my short shelf of absolutely essential books. I reread it once a year, so I don't lose sight of who I am and who I want to be. ...more


I was forewarned by friends and readers. I have read – and loved – a couple of other books by the author. So it’s not like I didn’t know the odds this would be good but this book? It blew my mind away. In its epilogue, Terry Pratchett says:

Thinking. This book contains some.

And that’s true: this is one of the most think-y books I have ever read. I loved it with every fibre of my being.

Nation is a book of ideas. Its main theme, that of construction and creation: the construct
Sep 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read! Nation works on many levels, and although it was marketed towards a YA readership, the novel has plenty of substance to keep adult readers thinking. The two main characters, an island boy just coming to adulthood and a shipwrecked Victorian girl whose father is 139th in line for the British throne, are vastly different in cultural background and life experience, but when put to the test, they find they have much in common. Both Mau and Daphne are brave souls with an unquenchable th ...more
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
This is a book that I found myself calling wonderful from the very beginning and immediately knowing it would be a favorite. It's one I'd recommend to nearly anyone. Be sure to buy a copy when it comes out in October of 2008.

This alternate history takes place in a time when the redcoats were plopping down flags on islands without asking the permission of the natives. Most authors fail to give such natives equal or superior intellectual status with their European contemporaries. Instead, such peo
Lady Nerd
DNF at 17%
Edit: Ok, I resumed reading this and it’s better now. I’ll update it after I finish it.
Jun 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Pratchett takes on imperialism, religion, women, men and fate.

He does it well, and with greater grace than I can explain without spoilers. Just read it because I told you so, okay?
Liz Janet
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
“They didn't know why these things were funny. Sometimes you laugh because you've got no more room for crying. Sometimes you laugh because table manners on a beach are funny. And sometimes you laugh because you're alive, when you really shouldn't be.”

The day I began and finished this book, I received the news that Sir Terry Pratchett had died. I was in school, this was my face:

I have read many of his books, not all of the Discworld, but I will get there. All of his books I have loved or admi
Kaethe Douglas
I'm about half way through and am truly thrilled by this one. Pratchett is brilliant at writing how people think about things, and think their way through things, and this story, focused on two young people in a catastrophe, is all about thinking their way through.


Lovely. A little sad, but appropriately so. Also, funny as hell. Love the premise, and I'm feeling smug that he mentions thinking among his brief notes at the back.

This may be my favorite Pratchett.


I grabbed this from the library
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011
A serious book from a comedy writer. The book is targeted at young adults, but I find it appealing at any age, as long as we remember that we were kids once, or that we will have kids of our own. This is the kind of story I would like to put in their hands.
With a tale of catastrophe in an alternate-Earth Pacific ocean and a boy meets girl on a desert island, I thought at the beginning this will go either the Blue Lagoon way or the Lord of the Flies way. But sir Terry Pratchett goes his own way.
Nov 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
Terry Pratchett is very angry.

At first glance, it looks like Pratchett has combined the descriptions from Simon Winchester's Krakatoa and the Indonesian tsunami with the central question of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel (i.e. why do the Europeans have all the stuff and pacific islanders don't).

But that's the surface, in this case much of the plot. The deep part is a look at the process of grieving. It isn't the simple seven steps. Our main character Mau (I kept reading it as Man at fi
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Unexpectedly, this book is my absolute favorite of all the Terry Pratchett books I've read so far, and I've read a lot.
I don't recall there being a lot of fanfare and declarations of love for this book when it was published.

I declare love. True love

Mau, a native. Ermintrude-Daphne-ghostgirl, a city girl. A tidal wave. Homemade beer from poison (reminiscent of kava). Lots of gods and ancestors. A cursing parrot. Humanity. Hope. Desolation. Telescopes. Pantaloons.

A new word for spiders.

"Insects w
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The premise is simple - a devastating tidal wave brings two young people of widely disparate cultures together on a tropical island. The resulting story is anything but simple; packed with vast and universal themes, mixed with humor and peopled with vivid characters. This has to be Pratchett’s best. Like all his stories, the humor and the inventive quirkiness makes for a delightful read yet this is a story that also thoughtfully explores an array of fascinating themes ranging from faith, free wi ...more
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Jim by: reviews by Kaethe and Lars
This was my first reading of a Terry Pratchett book. For the first 20% or so, I struggled with his introductions to two different societies - one 'civilized' and familiar in a historical context, the other 'primitive' and mythical/religious in a pagan context. I had trouble putting these pieces into a single framework, and the story seemed slow to develop. Those who have read many of his works would probably not struggle as I did.

At any rate, things got very interesting once the two main charact
Barb Middleton
Wow. Terry Pratchett packs powerful messages in a narrative loaded with action. He challenges assumptions about society, faith, gender, conventions, science, and laws - to name a few. The right balance of humor (adult and adolescent) and seriousness makes this coming-of-age story like nothing I've ever read. Yes, he pulls from the stranded-on-a-desert-island adventure stories that made me think of several classics, but it is his own creation and quite brilliant.

I would have liked being stranded
Jeannette Nikolova
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Also available on the WondrousBooks blog.

This is most likely the nicest book I've read this year and I'm really glad I received it as a birthday gift (if you're reading this, thank you).

Nation reminded me everything that's great with Pratchett and added a little bit extra to what I liked about him. The book was both very intelligently written and extremely clever, and sweet and heart-felt at the same time.

Nation follows the story of Mau, a boy on the verge of becoming a man, who is the last
Nov 04, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: english, humour
I have tried several times to read a Disc-World novel from cover to cover, without any success. Since many friends of mine constantly point out that I am to blame myself if I don’t like Pratchett, I read this one. At least I made it until the last page, but I did not like that either. Fourth world meets first world in the 18th century. Of course, the “savages” are the good ones, and they are much cleverer and more “developed” than Her Majesty’s subjects. But still, you can turn the world around ...more
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Born Terence David John Pratchett, Sir Terry Pratchett sold his first story when he was thirteen, which earned him enough money to buy a second-hand typewriter. His first novel, a humorous fantasy entitled The Carpet People, appeared in 1971 from the publisher Colin Smythe.

Terry worked for many years as a journalist and press officer, writing in his spare time and publishing a number of novels, i

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