- Roughcut: 367 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins (30 September 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061433012
- ISBN-13: 978-0061433016
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.1 x 22.9 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 621 g
- Customer Reviews: 1 customer review
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Nation Roughcut – 30 Sep 2008
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"Pratchett's examination of questions about religious belief, the nature of culture and what it means to be human [...] is a terrific, thought-provoking book."--Washington Post Book World
"A wonderful story, by turns harrowing and triumphant."--New York Times Book Review
"Neatly balancing the somber and the wildly humorous in a riveting tale of discovery, Pratchett shows himself at the height of his powers."--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A searching exploration of good and evil, fate and free will, both as broad and as deep as anything this brilliant author has produced so far. "--Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"It is hard to imagine a reader who won't feel welcomed into this nation."--Horn Book (starred review)
"Quirky wit and broad vision make this a fascinating survival story on many levels."--Booklist (starred review)
"A rich and thought-provoking read."--School Library Journal (starred review)
About the Author
Sir Terry Pratchett was the internationally bestselling author of more than thirty books, including his phenomenally successful Discworld series. His young adult novel, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, won the Carnegie Medal, and Where's My Cow?, his Discworld book for "readers of all ages," was a New York Times bestseller. His novels have sold more than seventy five million (give or take a few million) copies worldwide. Named an Officer of the British Empire "for services to literature," Pratchett lived in England. He died in 2015 at the age of sixty-six.
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Top international reviews
If you enjoy the way Pratchett uses humour to examine serious issues and mixes fact with fantasy you'll love this read.
People who know these things talk of Pratchett's anger but to me he is an author who finds novel ways to make his readers question why should things be this way.
Imaginative, endearing characters trying to understand disasters, religion, and cultural differences in an entertaining way. I did find the read a little uneven at times but overall a thought provoking and enjoyable read.
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book to be honest...I had not really heard of it before some one mentioned how good it was on twitter and with it being a stand alone I was intrigued as to what to expect! I have to say I was pleasantly surprised!
And it had a map!! A MAP! And we all know I love maps in books! And in this book it says and I quote....
"Every life should have a map"
I will try and put some of this book into words that may form a review, but as usual Pratchett's writing and imagery were on point and so sharp and just picture perfect. It draws you into this world like you are living in it yourself!
The book is set in a parallel universe from our world, with it's own rules, hierarchy and it's own views and religions. To me it was a kind of Adam and Eve story. It begins with a story of how the world was created and the Gods. It ten tells the story of a boy called Mau, who is returning to his Nation after leaving the boys island where he had been sent to become a man. Upon his return he finds that his Nation has been destroyed by a huge wave. There is nothing left. Nobody. All his family and friends are gone. Adapting to his new life is hard and then he meets a girl, who is stranded on the island too brought there by a big canoe. Together they begin to survive and begin new lives. Then other people wash up on the shores of the Nation! What pursues is an action adventure story with a mix of romance and a dash of humour! Oh and a parrot who is rather foul mouthed!
I admit I struggled with this book initially up until the point that Ermintrude (who later calls herself Daphne) is introduced into the story having being swept onto the Nation on a shipwreck called Sweet Jude. I just loved how the worlds of a tribal boy, Mau, and a rich "trouserwoman", Daphne, collided and how they learn from each other. Daphne with her etiquette and the tribal living ways of Mau. It was a pleasure to watch this develop.
I loved how we received flashbacks of island life through Mau's memories and could fully imagine the fully populated island of Nation in all it's glory and all it's inhabitants!
One of my favourite parts of the book was when Daphne teaches Mau how they can communicate as they do not understand each others languages. Daphne draws in the sand and uses a bird picture book to teach Mau words....I just adored it so much!
I also have a favourite line from the book...it's just beautiful ....
"It was as if the horizon was drinking the sea"
How gorgeous is that quote!
This book really did make me think which appears to have been Pratchett's intention and I think that all readers will get something different from it.
I don't want to reveal much more through fear of spoiling this beautiful book as I feel it is a book to go into without knowing much about and enjoying it's beauty.
I'm so pleased Viv picked this book for me to read as part of the tour! I may not have read it otherwise and then I would have not been able to experience the beautiful words that encaptured me from beginning to end!
For more reviews and more please visit www.talesofyesterday.co.uk
This is the first time I have read one Pratchett's novels that are aimed for young adults, and that probably explains the change in tone. The humour has been turned down significantly. Though still light, the jokes in 'Nation' complement the story, rather being the reason for novel's existence. The themes in 'Nation' are more complicated than in the 'Discworld' novels; this is novel that asks it's reader to think about the world in which they live, rather than recall a particular pop-culture reference. More fundamentally, 'Nation's' world is not flat!
Well, perhaps it is because 'Nation' is set in a parallel universe. An alternative Victorian era of colonialism sees a ship wrecked somewhere in the pacific islands. The Tsunami that brought the ship there, has killed the island's entire population apart from Mau, a boy on the edge of manhood. Mau and the ships sole survivor, a young English girl of minor nobility, set about trying to understand each other, and the new world in which they now live.
Pratchett uses this setting to provoke his readers into thinking about science and religion, and the relationship between the two. Mau who has been God-fearing all his life, is suddenly called to question their existence. If the Gods of the sea are benevolent why did the wave destroy everything he loved? Pratchett's probing on this subject is gentle, and though it is clear where his sympathies lie, 'Nation' is not atheist propaganda.
What it is, is an exhortation against blind faith, in anything, not just religion. His characters are constantly asked to question their assumptions, and Pratchett expects his readers to do so too. Colonialism is put under the spotlight, but again Pratchett is gentle about this. He deftly highlights the benefits as well the many pitfalls of Empire.
'Nation' is not without its flaws. It is over-simplified; considering the circumstances, many things happen too smoothly, but perhaps this is because it is aimed at younger readers. The novel's characters are a little flat, but in some ways they are incidental. The real hero of the piece is the indomitable human spirit. 'Nation' is thought-provoking and highly readable, perfect for any questioning teenager, and any number of interested adults too. If you've never read any Terry Pratchett and are wondering what the fuss is about, this might be the place to start.
Mr Pratchett has really outdone himself on this one. I've been a fan of his writing since I was 8 and I read the Bromeliad trilogy (truckers, diggers, wings), and this is really a great book.
It's a simple story about cultures joining together, learning eachothers ways, and striving together in times of hardship. The relationship between Mau and Daphne is sweet and amusing, the other characters all add their own special bit to the story.
Although this book isn't quite like anything Pratchett has written before, it is still wonderful. It's still got his great sense of humor, but not to such a great extent as the discworld or wee free men books do. But it works well. Too much humor would have overpowered this book, but he has got just the right balance.
Given that this book is set in the real world (or more precisely, an alternate version of the real world), I wasn't sure what to expect, but once again, Pratchett surprises me in taking over yet another world with his writing. He has captured people and places brilliantly, got forward all the right and wrong thinking parts of those from the 'civilised' world (and I use 'civilised' very lightly), and brought to light parts of other cultures within his wonderful book.
Well worth a read, this is a book I will come back to again and again, I really, really loved it.
The heroes live in a fully realised and believable world. The engaging skill with which he describes island life and the conflict between a (very) small nation and the realpolitik of an empire is set out in a way which belies any effect Alzheimers may be having. But, there is some conflict between the ages of the main characters, (and therefore the likely age of the target reader), and the ideas which are worked out around them. The result may be that Pratchett fans are the main beneficiaries of a wonderful read, rather than the wider audience it deserves.
Pratchett's prose is as compelling as ever, with humour sparkling all the way through what could've been a very depressing tale. He seems to use the narrative to attack all faiths as pointless manmade mumbo-jumbo, which is a shame, but his prerogative. The story is mostly a dive into the troubled mind of Mau, as he loses his faith in his island's religion and legends, replacing it with a fiercely cynical humanism. But I loved the book anyway!
The tone is much more sombre than some of his Discworld novels: it begins with tragedy, deals with death and loss, and slowly works its way to an optimistic conclusion. There's little comedy, and a reduced cast of characters, but this gives more space for Pratchett to insert his musings about people and the world in general. It feels more restrained than the Discworld series, partly because this story is about the absence of magic.
In this book I hear the author's voice louder than those of the characters. It's like a wise and ageing relative's words of advice to his children and grandchildren. It's about growing up and taking responsibility, about looking at the world with mature eyes and seeing things you hadn't noticed before, about questioning the old ways and coming up with new ones.
I have to point out that the conversion to Kindle format is disappointing. It looks like it's been scanned and OCR'd from a print edition, and has clearly not been proof-read before sending to Amazon - even the opening sentence has a glaring mistake, and there are several more in the text, which spoiled my enjoyment of the book. I expect Kindle books to be cheaper than the print edition anyway, because they are less versatile, inherently impermanent and harder to share with friends, but the lower price does not justify this half-hearted and careless attempt at a Kindle edition by the publishers.
It had the expected Pratchett traits of no bad language, no sex, but an unputdownable read.
I want to read it again right away.
The dialogue is fairly light and funny and the book radiates a certain feeling of warmth throughout. The treatment of religion is quite amusing, too. He's certainly a more compelling writer than someone like Richard Dawkins - his endless hammering in of the same point, while in principle correct does get tedious after a while.
Often he uses humour to shine a light on the absurdity of some of the ways in which people behave,but they are not,to my mind,humourous books per se.
Nation is a book about people. It isn't particularly funny. I wholeheartedly recommend it.