28/01/2005

Going Postal (by Terry Pratchett)

I do like Terry Pratchett's books, and have read all the Discworld series to date. Going Postal is the most recent one; I had read some reviews that were less than flattering about it, but decided to order it in hardback anyway, since Amazon UK always offers such good prices.

As with all the recent Pratchett books, I read this aloud to the boys. I'm glad we all still enjoy reading aloud - I thought it would die away long before they were 18 and 16! It worked even better than usual since for once this book has chapters - written in a spoof Victorian style telling us at the start of each what was going to happen, or at least one interpretation of it!

The book is about Moist von Lipwig, an original character in that he is a convicted criminal due to be hanged in the first chapter. A last-minute reprieve forces him to take on the management of the Ankh-Morpork post office, which has been failing miserably. Moist is a smooth but somehow likeable con-man, very cleverly created so that we get inside his skin and see the tensions of his manipulative character jostling against his extreme professionalism, and his underlying rather caring nature.

The plot proceeds more straightforwardly than most Discworld books, aided by the chapters, and to my mind this is one of the best of the recent books. I liked it a great deal more than the ones featuring armies or the Watch, but then I tend to like character-driven novels more than those which are full of action.

It was also funny - very funny in places - without the bawdiness and risqué jokes that feature in some of the other recent books. Recommended.

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