Fantasy books have always been my preferred method to escape the stress of everyday life. After all, I’m never too busy to read a good book that revolves around an imaginary world. Just because magic doesn’t exist here that doesn’t mean it’s not present somewhere else, for example the Discworld. Terry Pratchett creates fantastic novels filled not only with good humor but also with cleverly covered morals which can be easily recognized if you are looking carefully. So it was no surprise I chose to read ‘Nation’.
Why is this book any different from the others I’ve read form Terry Pratchett? Well, the story was not situated in the Discworld but rather on a sphere called Earth. How very strange. It didn’t stop me from reading or even liking it. This is how the whole story begins, under the romantic sounds of grandfather birds puking their dinner.
Mau is returning from the Boy’s Island, where lads are taken on their own to become men. Before his return an enormous wave crashes into his home island leaving him the only survivor of the Nation but not the only one on the island. The ghost girl, who has no toes and wears too many clothes, is Mau’s only companion. Daphne is the sole person left after the shipwreck of Sweet Judy. Now they both have to learn to live together while Mau figures out how to save the Nation with no people left and how to get rid of the annoying grandfathers’ advice and while Daphne gets over the fact that her ‘acquaintance‘ is almost completely naked and the absolute inadequacy of a situation she had found herself in. What has the etiquette have to say about this? Just because it is a very plausible story, Terry Pratchett has not given up his love for ‘made-up things’. After all, this is not the real Earth, just a parallel one where everything is a little bit different. For example, Daphne’s dad has to wait for only 138 people to die to become king of England. And Mau’s predecessors and gods have the habit of conversing with him. It is not easy being a teenager while the whole world is against you.
But this book asks a lot of interesting and substantial questions. Some of them even have answers and others you have to think of yourself. Why did the wave happen? Was it the gods’ anger? How can you built the Nation when there is only you and a ghost girl? WHERE IS THE BEER? As Mau and Daphne are on the journey of learning each other’s form of speaking (the process is filled with a lot of acting, a lot of drawing and a whole ton of misunderstanding) more and more people arrive on the island. Slowly a Nation is forming which will be ready for the notorious crew coming to the island. This is all I can give away.
’Nation’ presents a whole new meaning of the world civilization. Sometimes the most sophisticated people are so arrogant that they are truly more savage than the population of a cast away island. And sometimes those who are considered cannibals are as human as any other man. Religion is also a subject which is looked upon in the book only to be discovered that is faith that keeps us together, nothing more, nothing less.
As a conclusion I would like to say that this book will make you laugh and it will make you cry. So make yourself comfortable and go on this fantastic journey that is so far away from home and still feels like it is happening right in front of you. Enjoy!