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Nation by Terry Pratchett
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Nation (original 2008; edition 2008)

by Terry Pratchett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,3601971,617 (4.12)222
Member:brightcopy
Title:Nation
Authors:Terry Pratchett
Info:Doubleday UK (2008), Hardcover, 300 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:
Tags:science fiction

Work details

Nation by Terry Pratchett (2008)

  1. 30
    The Bromeliad Trilogy: Truckers, Diggers, and Wings by Terry Pratchett (fastfinge)
    fastfinge: This book is, perhaps, for a slightly younger readership. Never the less, it's still fun.
  2. 31
    The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (brianjungwi)
  3. 20
    The Johnny Maxwell Trilogy by Terry Pratchett (fastfinge)
    fastfinge: Another of Terry's young adult books; some thinking required of young readers.
  4. 10
    The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck (infiniteletters)
  5. 10
    The Girl Who Owned A City by O. T. Nelson (fastfinge)
    fastfinge: More thoughts on nationhood, and what makes a nation, pitched at young readers.
  6. 00
    The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco (tronella)
  7. 00
    The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge (foggidawn)
  8. 23
    His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (JonTheNiceGuy)
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» See also 222 mentions

English (194)  German (2)  Finnish (1)  All languages (197)
Showing 1-5 of 194 (next | show all)
I have to admit, I sniffled a bit towards the end.

This book is probably more of a three-and-a-half than a four star book, but I bumped it up because it certainly isn't a three. I loved Mau and Ermintrude/Daphne and large parts of the story. I just felt the plot seemed to skip some vital explanations to make everything make sense. Also thematically the book was simultaneously heavy-handed and obscure.

It definitely didn't feel like a Terry Pratchett book - it's stylistically very different to any of the Discworld books I've read anyway, even the ones aimed at younger readers. This isn't a bad thing, but it's a little odd when you're so familiar with his work. It's... very matter of fact.

And in some ways, very, very sad. And yet uplifting. And I have no idea what I'm trying to say.

( )
  humblewomble | Oct 19, 2014 |
I've never made a secret about my love of Terry Pratchett's writing. In the lottery of picking a good book, choosing one with Pratchett's name on the cover dramatically increases the odds of winning.

[b:Nation|2855034|Nation|Terry Pratchett|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1403133971s/2855034.jpg|34491] is no exception.

Orphaned by a giant wave on the way home from his coming of age ritual on a deserted island, Mau finds himself alone among the dead of his people, the wreckage of his village, and the flotsam left behind by the wave's receding foam...including a "trouser man" canoe, stranded high above the shoreline where the wave deposited it, carrying but one living inhabitant: a girl, the off-spring of royalty from far of England.

As Mau begins to rebuild, he faces the specter of Death, his fallen (and often annoying) ancestors, cannibals, crises of faith, and, ultimately, both his and the Nation's future. Daphne, the English girl awaiting rescue, will help him, giving him tools, companionship, and guidance, and both will face the prejudices and misconceptions of their cultures and history, remaking the world anew.

And, of course, because it is Pratchett, it will be funny.

Set in a world that is somewhere parallel to our own (that's Pratchett's description), Nation is full of the wonderful twists and plays on language that set Pratchett's writing apart. His characters and plots are full of the playful color and magic that leave you wondering if you just read a book of fantasy or have been enjoying the imagination of the characters themselves. In the end, it doesn't matter, really, because the characters have progressed in tandem with the events, real or imagined, and Pratchett's creative use of imagery, myth, fantasy, and conflict has become a well-woven fabric of the whole.

Nation is a fun read that felt targeted at a young adult audience, but can be easily enjoyed by the adult reader. The tone, even when dealing with difficult subjects, is never dark or depressing, but always seems calculated to bring the reader along with the characters. I can't wait to reread it along with my teenagers (once I have some),and to enjoy their journey to a little island in the long chain of islands in a world somewhere just to the left, or perhaps the right, of our own. ( )
  publiusdb | Aug 13, 2014 |
While Mau is paddling back home to Nation, from the boys' island, Little Nation, a tsunami hits and everything Mau has ever known is taken away. Expecting to return home to the celebration of his becoming a man, and getting his tattoo marking Mau as both adult and member of Nation. Instead, he finds nothing but death and destruction. So the boy who is not a boy but not yet a man sets forth building a new Nation.

Mau discovers that since he is not yet a man and, by his culture's norms, has no soul he can question everything. And he does. Everything he ever knew is up for questioning, even the big question of "things happen." Mau changes it all, and says, "Does not happen."

Daphne, aboard the Sweet Judy on her way to meet her father, captain of another ship, gets stranded on Nation. Until she meets Mau, she does not question anything and tries to make things "just so" in that British sort of way.

And so, Mau and Daphne (not her real name) join forces and learn to survive as more people from other islands affected by the Big Wave arrive. Slowly a community is built, and they face down their enemies with brain power and just a little force.

This book was a delight to read, mostly because Pratchett wrote characters who were completely willing to question everything they thought they knew, including their religion. Mau's unwillingness to bend to the rituals of what once was just because it once was is an interesting way of discussing religion on a larger scale.

Nation is about survival, family of choice, friendship, and community. Mostly I think it's about learning to let people be who they are and not try to force them to be who we think they should be. ( )
  AuntieClio | Mar 21, 2014 |
Excellent! Very different from Wee Free Men and Discworld. A good story with believable characters. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
If I had to sum up this novel in one word, it would be "poignant". Pratchett faces the age-old question, "why do bad things happen?" and struggles with it mightily. He doesn't necessarily come up with the right answer, but if you just want one right answer, I'd be happy to recommend some religious tracts for you. No, he instead explores the process that some very realistic characters go through struggling with the question, as well as the rationalizations that other very realistic characters use to avoid grappling with it at all. In other words, he tells a deep, satisfying story, and from him I would expect no less. A quite dark book, but most great books are, aren't they? ( )
  bradgers | Feb 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 194 (next | show all)
It's a complete departure for Pratchett and yet is recognizably him, on every page, writing with the same grace and wit we know from his other work. Highly recommended (and would make brilliant bedtime reading, too).
added by lampbane | editBoing Boing, Cory Doctorow (Sep 30, 2008)
 

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Terry Pratchettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brehnkmann, PederTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Briggs, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Couton, PatrickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duddle, JohnnyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kaminski, StefanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061433012, Roughcut)

The sea has taken everything.

Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.

Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne's sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down. . . .

Internationally revered storyteller Terry Pratchett presents a breathtaking adventure of survival and discovery, and of the courage required to forge new beliefs.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:21:05 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

After a devastating tsunami destroys all that they have ever known, Mau, an island boy, and Daphne, an aristocratic English girl, together with a small band of refugees, set about rebuilding their community and all the things that are important in their lives.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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