2008: 152. Nation

“Imo set out one day to catch some fish, but there was no sea.  There was nothing but Imo.  So he spat in his hands and rubbed them together and made a ball of sea.”

Nation, Terry Pratchett

This is Terry Pratchett’s latest novel.  Unlike most of his others, it isn’t set on the Discworld, but on a (slightly alternate) version of our own Earth, in Victorian times.  The premise is that there has been a huge tidal wave on a small south pacific island, which wipes out almost an entire small island nation.  The one survivor is a young man named Mau, who had been off on an manhood ritual, and was thus not on the island when the wave hit.  He comes home and finds that there is no one left at all.  He is devastated, and barely can survive.  And then he runs into another survivor, a young white woman, Daphne* (who it turns out is, thanks to a Spanish flu that wiped out 132 other people, second in line to the British throne) and the two of them together start to survive. And then more survivors start coming in, and Mau finds himself, despite his youth, and loss, and sorrow leading the crowd. And it is a book about loss, and about religion and fate and the meaning of life - and it is funny, and meaningful, and sad,** and seriously awesome.  It’s technically a young adult novel, but you wouldn’t know that unless you were told, because it is about important life issues and not juvenile in anyway.  If you think you might like Pratchett, but have shied away from the Discworld because you’re worried about the fantasy elements, I highly recommend Nation.  Heck, if  you like books at all, I recommend it.

*Or rather Ermintrude, but wouldn’t you change your name?

**I can’t even think about the part about Daphne’s dead mother and brother and the small lonely coffin without getting teary (OMG I am SUCH a mom now)

Date/Place Completed: 10/3/08; D.C.

Categories: Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017