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Mort by Terry Pratchett
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Mort (original 1987; edition 2009)

by Terry Pratchett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,329136278 (4.04)336
Member:DieterBoehm
Title:Mort
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Transworld Digital (2009), Kindle Edition, 324 pages
Collections:Your library, Gelesen und in Besitz
Rating:*****
Tags:Roman, Fantasy, England, Discworld, GH

Work details

Mort by Terry Pratchett (1987)

  1. 61
    Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett (Pigletto)
  2. 33
    On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony (elvisettey)
    elvisettey: Similar theme: Death gets a replacement. Wry, with a healthy helping of social critique.
  3. 00
    Fluke, or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore (Zaklog)
    Zaklog: Although American, not British, Christopher Moore has a very similar sense of humor to Pratchett's. And if you like a story about an unsuspecting, innocent (and often clumsy) man accidentally becoming the Grim Reaper, you'll probably like Moore's book as well. Another wonderful characteristic the two authors share is their ability to combine a bizarre sense of humor with very serious moral subjects. So once you finish the newest Pratchett novel, be sure to check out Christopher Moore.… (more)
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» See also 336 mentions

English (127)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Polish (1)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Czech (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (136)
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
From time to time my brother-in-law has recommended to me the work of Terry Pratchett. I believe he has read many if not all of the Discworld novels by fantasy author Terry Pratchett. I recently had the opportunity to read a Pratchett novel when our SF Reading Group chose Mort, the fourth in the Discworld series, as our monthly book. I was not disappointed by this choice.

Death is an unlikely object of humor, but Terry Pratchett's imagination is more than sufficient to provide a narrative with amusing (an understatement) situations that literally puts death in a whole new light. When Death came to Mort, he offered him a job. After being assured that being dead was not compulsory, Mort accepted. However, he soon found that romantic longings did not mix easily with the responsibilities of being Death's apprentice.

Mort is told in third-person narrative and contains both dry humor and witty social observations. Death plays the supporting role to Mort (short for Mortimer), a typical awkward, gangly male teenager. Ysabell and Albert complete Death’s “family”, and I would not mind reading a novel based on their lives together. However Mort is introduced thus:
"It was also acutely embarrassing to Mort’s family that the youngest son was not at all serious and had about the same talent for horticulture that you would find in a dead starfish. It wasn’t that he was unhelpful, but he had the kind of vague, cheerful helpfulness that serious men soon learn to dread. There was something infectious, possibly even fatal, about it. He was tall, red-haired and freckled, with the sort of body that seems to be only marginally under its owner’s control; it appeared to have been built out of knees."

The witty narrative flows effortlessly, with Death speaking in capital letters, a stroke of genius; you are able to hear the coffins creak and the bells toll in your mind every time he speaks. The irony, ambiguity and puns abound, especially the puns. None are overdone and I found myself often laughing out loud when I wasn't simply grinning. It is difficult to avoid developing some sympathy for Death as he succumbs to a mid-life crisis and attempts to seek alternative employment. One of the most hilarious scenes was when he sought out an employment agency and found that his skills, while honed over millennia, were not well-suited for any typical job. One of the reasons that Pratchett has managed to turn the reaper of souls into a sympathetic character is that he shows Death’s caring side. Early in the book Death exudes barely suppressed fury at the needless death of a bagful of kittens.

The novel is not only about the intersection of the life of young Mort and Death, but is also about the coming-of-age of young Mort. It was encouraging when the narrator (who interjects his opinions from time to time) noted how Mort had changed:
"It might be worth taking another look at Mort, because he's changed a lot in the last few chapters. For example, while he still has plenty of knees and elbows about his person, they seem to have migrated to their normal places and he no longer moves as though his joints were loosely fastened together with elastic bands. He used to look as if he knew nothing at all; now he looks as though he knew too much. Something about his eyes suggests that he has seen things that ordinary people never see, or at least never see more than once." (p 122)

Discworld itself is unique and some of its characteristics are described, such as the elusive nature of time; enough background is shared to heighten your interest in reading further in the series. If the other Discworld novels are half as good as this one they are worth checking out. In the meantime Mort was a delightful dish of fantasy from the pen of Terry Pratchett. To take a theme such as death and turn it into a story that is this amusing and warm-hearted is a remarkable achievement. ( )
  jwhenderson | Aug 26, 2015 |
I’m so glad that I chose Mort as my jumping off point for the Discworld series! It’s delightfully funny and compelling with touching, insightful moments that will stay with you long after you’ve finished the story. I fell in love with the character Death (as odd as that sounds), and I can’t wait to explore more of Pratchett’s Discworld. ( )
  les121 | Aug 23, 2015 |
Young Mortimer, or Mort, is at that hapless stage of all knees and elbows and doesn't have many prospects for getting by in an agrarian town where farmers have plants that start out grown and get planted next year (too close to a ton of magic, y'see). On the day apprentices are chosen at market, poor Mort is left all alone until just before midnight when Death himself shows up and takes him on.

This is the fourth book in the total Discworld series and the first in the subset that deals with Death - not dying so much as the anthropomorphized realization... yeah, anyway. It's Terry Pratchett, so it's got that trademark mix of hilarity and seriousness. This one wasn't my favorites (so far in my Discworld reading I really prefer the Witches series), but it was a short, quick read and a few lines made me laugh. Maybe I went in with too high expectations after reading some of his later works. ( )
  bell7 | May 30, 2015 |
Humorous, sincere and inventive fantasy. "Mort" is my first foray into the Discworld. I found this to stand alone quite nicely even though it is the fourth in the series. Pratchett reveals something about the transition from apprenticeship to mastery and how even very secure jobs (such as the one of a kind "job" of Death) can end up over-defining who we are. ( )
  albertgoldfain | May 30, 2015 |
Mort is a short, silly book, and I can appreciate that these days. Mort is a distracted farm boy who is hired to be death's apprentice. The question is whether he'll take over the Master's business... and marry his daughter. Aside from Mort, there are only a handful of other characters: Death himself, Death's adopted daughter, Death's manservant, a princess who is supposed to be dead, and a third-rate wizard. Of course there are other walk-on characters, but I liked the fact that I didn't have to keep track of too many people -- a large cast is the downfall of many more serious fantasy novels, in my opinion. ( )
  Amelia_Smith | May 2, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
The plot leaps along, but the main pleasure is Death itself, as he progresses through a Job Centre interview to a spell as a short-order cook, and further hilarities. Mort should be required reading for all projectors of serious three-volume epic fantasies. Read this, and be subverted.
added by Shortride | editThe Guardian, John Christie (Feb 5, 1988)
 

» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pratchett, Terryprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bauman, JillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kirby, JoshCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salmenoja, MargitTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wilkins, RobAuthor photosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Rhianna
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This is the bright candlelit room where the lifetimers are stored - shelf upon shelf of them, squat hourglasses, one for every living person, pouring their fine sand from the future into the past.
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Book description
When Mort’s father tries to get rid of his dim-witted son by offering him up for apprenticeship, nobody seems to want him – except for an elderly skeleton in a black cloak who turns out to be Death himself! After being accepted into Death’s unusual household, and watching a few souls be guided into the next world, Mort takes over the duty for a night or two, to give his master a break. With one ill-placed stroke of the scythe, he will split history in two, create a paradox that only a powerful wizard can rectify, and send Death on a quest to find out precisely what it is about life that humans enjoy – with predictably hilarious results!
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061020680, Mass Market Paperback)

Terry Pratchett's profoundly irreverent novels are consistent number one bestseller in England, where they have catapulted him into the highest echelons of parody next to Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, and Carl Hiaasen.

In this Discworld installment, Death comes to Mort with an offer he can't refuse -- especially since being, well, dead isn't compulsory.As Death's apprentice, he'll have free board and lodging, use of the company horse, and he won't need time off for family funerals. The position is everything Mort thought he'd ever wanted, until he discovers that this perfect job can be a killer on his love life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:03 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Unable to be objective, Mort, Death's bumbling apprentice, kills an assassin instead of Keli, the princess who should have been his victim. Reprint.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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