Nation by Terry Pratchett

nat7adc618d38435295938413255514141414c3441Nation by Terry Pratchett

Harper Collins, New York, 2008

Young Adult

“When much is taken, something is returned.”

I’ve been hearing about Terry Pratchett for a long time and yet the only thing I ever read by him was a collaboration he wrote with Neil Gaiman, Good Omens:The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.  I read that book a long time ago and don’t remember much of it.

After reading Nation I am somehow going to have to make time to at least start the Discworld series.  Nation is complex, smart, funny and beautifully written.

It is a story of survival.  After a terrible wave destroys much his island and all of his loved ones, Mau, a boy on the brink of manhood, must deal with his loss and figure out the best way to move forward, all the time hearing the voices of his “Grandfathers” telling him to stay with the old ways. He questions the gods, questions his great loss.

Mau  is joined by Daphne, a young women from the wreck of the Sweet Judy, a mid-Victorian British ship.  These two, so dissimilar and yet so alike, somehow find a way to communicate. They join forces and the smoke of their fire draws other survivors.  They all must learn to find food and shelter, feed babies. get along and face the possibility of an enemy raid.  Patchett has a gentle and thoughtful way of dealing with difficult issues, puberty, violence,  racism and religion.  And he is very, very funny.  I am going to see that our school library gets a least one copy of this book and suggest it to every middle school student (and adult) I know.

The dreaming Mau let his body do the thinking: You lift like this, you pull like this.  You cut the papervine like that, and you don’t scream, because you are a hand and a body and a knife, and they don’t even shed a tear.  You are inside a thick gray skin that can feel nothing.  And nothing can get through.  Nothing at all.  And you send the body sinking slowly into the deep current, away from birds and pigs and flies, and it will grow a new skin and become a dolphin. Page 29.

Somewhere out there, flying to him from the edge of the world, was tomorrow.  He had no idea what shape it would be, but he was wary of it.  They had food and fire, but that wasn’t enough.  You had to fine water and food and shelter and a weapon, people said.  And they thought that was all you had to have, because they took for granted the most important thing.  You had to have a place where you belonged. Page 84

Other reviews:

Adventures in Reading


Boston Bibliophile

Guys Lit Wire

SherMeree’s Musings

things mean a lot

Valentina’s Room (this on has a great video of Pratchett talking about the book)

YA Lit


Filed under Fantasy, Review, Young Adult

9 responses to “Nation by Terry Pratchett

  1. The only Pratchett I’ve read before was The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, which was a good book. A kid’s book, but still good. I’m looking forward to Nation.

  2. I haven’t read much Pratchett either, but I truly need to change that! I agree with you. This was an absolutely amazing book. So glad to hear that you enjoyed it too!!

    • Chris – I really don’t know why I never read Pratchett. Maybe because the first time I heard of Discworld there were already 15 or so books!

      I just loved Nation, and am amazed at how Pratchett can be so serious and so funny at the same time. What great balance and tone!

  3. Pingback: Sunday Salon « Page247

  4. robotbooks

    I love that you loved this. ;) I’m a huge Terry Pratchett snob and while I certainly enjoyed Nation, I don’t think it even begins to touch on how phenomenal of a writer Pratchett actually is.

  5. robotbooks

    I’ve restarted my book blogging over at Robot Books ( For suggestions, Pratchett’s books cover quite an array of topics, but I’ve always enjoyed Small Gods and that was also the first Pratchett book I read.

  6. Pingback: Terry Pratchett – Nation « Fyrefly's Book Blog

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