Manny's Reviews > Mort

Mort by Terry Pratchett
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This review contains major spoilers for the movie Pusher 3

The central joke in Mort is that Death is basically, you know, just a guy doing a job. The other day, I thought of Terry Pratchett's novel for the first time in ages when we saw I'm The Angel of Death , Nicolas Winding Refn's brilliant conclusion to the Pusher trilogy. In the first two movies, we've had several brief encounters with the terrifying Milo, a Serbian kingpin in Copenhagen's underworld. The first film ends with him and his assistant methodically laying down plastic sheeting on their floor; you're already familiar enough with his character that you immediately understand what they're planning to do to Tommy.

In Pusher and Pusher 2, Milo is only a minor character. Here, he's in the center, and you soon see that, just like Mort's employer, he's a normal kinda dude with normal kinda problems. He's got to juggle work and family, and heck, why is everyone so goddamn difficult all the time? He's promised to fix good Serbian food for his spoiled, arrogant daughter's 25th birthday party, and it's making him seriously tense - even though Milo's day job is running a cheap restaurant, everyone keeps joshing him about his unreliable cooking skills. He attends a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and promises that he's going to try and take it one day at a time and keep clean. You can see he means it, and you're willing the poor guy to stay on track. And he's having a terrible day at the office. The shipment he received, which was supposed to be coke, turns out to be some pills which everyone says are ecstasy - but Milo's an old-fashioned drug lord, and he doesn't know shit about ecstasy. One of his younger associates starts openly mocking him and saying he's getting too old for this. The little punk demands a larger cut, and Milo lets himself be bullied into it. He's just so tired, and everyone's needling him all the time. It's impossible not to feel sorry for him.

Things just get worse. One of his henchmen starts vomiting and blames Milo's food. Milo panics and throws away most of the stuff he's made for the party. He goes out and buys 60 orders of deep-fried fish at a Chinese restaurant. But his daughter doesn't want the fish, and further humiliates him by renegotiating the arrangement Milo's made with her part time dealer husband to give him a better percentage. Milo looks disbelievingly at her. How can she be so insensitive? He begs her to stop, and they just barely manage to patch things up before it gets really nasty. His feelings are deeply hurt.

And on top of everything, he's somehow got himself into a stupid deal where he's helping two people he can't stand sell some young Eastern European girl to a Swedish brothel. It's a day when everything goes wrong. Against his better judgement, Milo accepts some Polish speed. Then the madam turns up, but doesn't want the girl; she doesn't answer to the description she was given. The pimps are angry and disappointed. One of them goes out for ten minutes; while he's away, the girl tries to run for it. The remaining pimp runs after her, catches her, and then drags her into the kitchen where he starts pouring boiling water on her hand to punish her. The girl is screaming.

Milo's head's full of bad Polish speed he wishes he hadn't taken, and the girl vaguely reminds him of his own daughter, whose party he's now missing. And she just carries on screaming. He can't think! Before he quite realizes what he's done, he's picked up a hammer and bashed the pimp's head in. And then he has to wait for the other one to show up, so he can do the same to him too. Now, shit! He's got two bodies to take care of. But luckily he has an old friend who's an expert on this kind of thing. He sweet-talks him into helping, and the two guys methodically lay down that ol' plastic sheeting and butcher the two corpses. You can see from their practiced movements that they're actually pretty good at it and in a way rather enjoy working together again. But it's still disgusting, and it takes forever.

No, it's not as much fun as you might think, being the Angel of Death.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 1990 – Finished Reading
February 6, 2009 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Nataliya Love it!

Manny Thank you Nataliya! I hadn't even heard of Nicolas Winding Refn a couple of years ago, but since then I've developed an enormous respect for him. Really looking forward to the new Logan's Run...

message 3: by Manny (last edited Oct 06, 2012 01:43AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Manny I have somehow never watched "Family Guy", but I must do something about that... everything I hear suggests I'd really like it :)

Nathan Johnson Okay... but what the hell does this have to do with Mort? IMDB would absolutely LOVE your review though.

Manny Well, he's the angel of death, and he's just an ordinary guy?

Thanks for the IMDB suggestion :)

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