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Nation [Library Binding]

Terry Pratchett
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 30 2008

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.


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Review

“A wonderful story, by turns harrowing and triumphant.” (New York Times Book Review)

“Pratchett’s examination of questions about religious belief, the nature of culture and what it means to be human [...] is a terrific, thought-provoking book.” (Washington Post Book World)

“A searching exploration of good and evil, fate and free will, both as broad and as deep as anything this brilliant author has produced so far. ” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“Neatly balancing the somber and the wildly humorous in a riveting tale of discovery, Pratchett shows himself at the height of his powers.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“It is hard to imagine a reader who won’t feel welcomed into this nation.” (Horn Book (starred review))

“Quirky wit and broad vision make this a fascinating survival story on many levels.” (Booklist (starred review))

“A rich and thought-provoking read.” (School Library Journal (starred review))

“A classic survival tale that offers laughs and much to mull over, this is a wonderfully entertaining novel.” (starred review) (KLIATT)

About the Author

Terry Pratchett is one of the world's most popular authors. His acclaimed novels are bestsellers in the United States and the United Kingdom, and have sold more than 85 million copies worldwide. In January 2009, Queen Elizabeth II appointed Pratchett a Knight Bachelor in recognition of his services to literature. Sir Terry lives in England.


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When the world was otherwise Aug. 29 2008
By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Returning home from an end-of-boyhood ritual on an isolated island, young Mau encounters a giant wave. When he finally reaches his home, he discovers it's been devastated by the wave. He's the only survivor of his nation, which had existed on this mountainous island for centuries. Although alone, Mau isn't the only survivor of the wave. The surge dumped deep in the forest a ship, which carried safely as it turned out, a very important passenger. In this finest of Pratchett's tales for "young adults", he weaves into the story important concepts along with fine entertainment. The mix works well, in ways only Terry Pratchett can conceive. This book will outlast many other contemporary efforts that fail to incorporate the depths of thinking Pratchett can achieve.

How do you rebuild a "nation" from but one survivor? The wave that destroyed so many communities left a tithe of survivors from other islands. In small groups, they begin to accumulate on Mau's island, forcing him - at thirteen years - to become the new "chief". He has already coped with the job of burying his relatives and other members of his nation. Even that propitiating task doesn't seem to quell the demands of The Grandfathers who visit him in dreams and visions. They express unfulfilled needs which he cannot comprehend. One of the refugees Mau must deal with is a Ataba, a priest who had trained on Mau's island. Ataba knows about the gods - and the white god anchors - which are to be kept nearby and bring good luck to the people of the Nation. This idea eludes Mau who wants to know which god brought the Great Wave and why he should be thankful for it.

Another of the wave's spared tithes is "Daphne", the sole survivor of the shipwreck. She's an Unbaked One from a distant land, daughter of one of the "trousermen".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pratchett's best ever! May 17 2009
Format:Hardcover
What, no Discworld? But hold on a second. Sir Terry Pratchett has created an alternate universe quite like yet unlike our own world. In Nation, a book he insisted his publishers allow him to write as it had been seething in his mind for many years, he has created literature. A feat he has always been fearful of being accused of. This story should not be just for tweens, teens or the elderly but can be read on so many levels that grown-ups can enjoy it too. While I normally read a Pratchett novel from cover to cover on the first read I found with this one I would read a few pages and stop as it does involve some thought on the readers part. Or not as the case may be. The conflict between the world of the native boy Mau and Daphne of the Europeans is one which will lighten the hearts of many. This book is a reader's gem. Whenever things seemed to be taking a serious turn, the wit, kind humour and satire of Sir Pratchett was there shining through. The only sad thing is Mr Pratchett's recent diagnosis of Alzheimers. I can only say I hope he has many more years of writing left and I thank him for the joy he has brought me these many years from reading his wonderful books
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing Jan. 26 2009
By Dave and Joe TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
On one level this book is simply a marvel of good storytelling. Pratchett says, at the back of the book, that 'thinking' may result from reading his book. He's right, it does. On another level, anyone knowing what Pratchett is going through personally the book will read much more deeply. The profound insights that appear on nearly every page can only have been written by someone who has had his world destroyed and who is frantically trying to find foothold. An amazing gift from an amazing storyteller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I admit that I hadn't read much Pratchett before buying this book, but now that I've finished reading Nation, I want to see more of what this man has done and can do. (Shame for now I have other more pressing books to get to.)

Nation was an enjoyable read from start to finish. It's a book that presents thinking in an intelligent and wonderful way and messes with the perception of meaning, right, and wrong. It's a culture clash seen from both ends, and by the end you can't help but see both sides as right, wrong, and foolish at the same time. It challenges faith, ignorance, history, culture, and a whole host of other issues in such pleasant ways that you could have spent the last 50 pages being preached at and you'd have enjoyed every word of it!

Now that takes skill!

The final chapter (or epilogue, depending on how you really want to look at it) was quite powerful to me, as it expressed how an entire culture can not only be remade, but made in the first place, by chance encounters, and that the smallest things have the biggest consequences.

I think that if more young people read books like this, they'd enjoy reading more in general.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too Nov. 29 2009
Format:Paperback
Mau is away from his small island when a giant wave destroys his village, leaving him alone - and unable to complete the ceremony that would have given him his man's soul. It takes all his strength just to carry on, with the voices of his ancestors haunting him.

Daphne finds herself the lone survivor when the ship she was traveling on crashes into Mau's island on the same wave. With little to guide her but her grandmother's training for high society, she isn't sure whether to approach Mau as a potential friend or foe.

As other survivors gather on the island, Mau and Daphne form a bond and work to create a society that's all their own. Mau begins to believe in himself despite his fear that he lacks a soul. Daphne realizes there are far more important things than propriety.

But when all they've gained is threatened by an outside enemy, will their makeshift community be able to hold steady?

NATION has everything you could ask for in a novel. Its dramatic scenes are both poignant and moving, with Pratchettt's customary humor keeping the proceedings from straying into melodrama. Both main characters are distinctive, and it's a pleasure watching them come into their own throughout the story. The villains are suitably creepy and brutal. Little details of the setting and cultures make it all feel so real.

Highly recommended to both teens and adults.

Reviewed by: Lynn Crow
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