Mr. Pirkl's Reviews > Nation

Nation by Terry Pratchett
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it was amazing
bookshelves: ya, bildungsroman, 2011

This story is set in a time and place very similar to our early 19th Century. Mau is part of a small island community that refers to themselves as “The Nation”. The story opens with Mau on the islands that boys must go to in order to become men. As he is planning his return a tsunami tears through region. When he finally makes it back to the shore of the Nation he discovers that he is the lone survivor and has to bury all of the dead.

"There were dogs, too, and that almost broke him. The people, well, the horror was so great that his mind went blank, but the twisted bodies of the dogs twisted his soul. They had been with the people, excited but not knowing why. He wrapped them in papervine and weighted them down and sent them into the current anyway. Dogs would want to stay with the people, because they were people, too, in their way."

At the same time Ermintrude (who, having never liked her name, decides to call herself Daphne) is waking up to find she is the only person left on the British ship upon which she was traveling. The two discover each other and form the foundation for the new society that forms as refugees from the tsunami arrive on the island.
I’m a fan of Pratchett. This is one of the few books I’ve read that takes place outside of his Discworld series, which is hilarious in a silly, pun-filled, sometimes subtle way. Nation provides a change from that, but not a complete break. Much of the book deals with Mau’s struggle with his faith and everything he thought he knew (but not in a overly pedantic preachy way, just honest questions), mixed into this is humor that arises from he and Daphne not understanding each others language or culture. This serves to temper the serious questions that Mau is dealing with that would leave the book feeling very heavy otherwise.
I give this book four and 1/2 stars (rounded to 5). To be fair I’m pretty generous with my stars, but I think Nation deserves it. The questioning that Mau engages in makes him a critical thinker, and that plays a big part in his success after the tsunami. The humor is genuine and I found myself snickering and laughing aloud as I read.
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Reading Progress

February 28, 2011 – Shelved
October 16, 2011 – Started Reading
October 18, 2011 –
page 76
October 22, 2011 – Shelved as: ya
October 22, 2011 – Shelved as: bildungsroman
October 22, 2011 – Finished Reading
March 1, 2012 – Shelved as: 2011

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