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Nation [Mass Market Paperback]

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

Sept. 14 2009
Alone on a desert island — everything and everyone he knows and loves has been washed away in a storm — Mau is the last surviving member of his nation. He’s completely alone — or so he thinks until he finds the ghost girl. She has no toes, wears strange lacy trousers like the grandfather bird, and gives him a stick that can make fire.
Daphne, sole survivor of the wreck of the Sweet Judy, almost immediately regrets trying to shoot the native boy. Thank goodness the powder was wet and the gun only produced a spark. She’s certain her father, distant cousin of the Royal family, will come and rescue her but it seems, for now, that all she has for company is the boy and the foul-mouthed ship’s parrot, until other survivors arrive to take refuge on the island. Together, Mau and Daphne discover some remarkable things (including how to milk a pig, and why spitting in beer is a good thing), and start to forge a new nation.

Encompassing themes of death and nationhood, Terry Pratchett’s new novel is, as can be expected, extremely funny, witty and wise. Mau’s ancestors have something to teach us all. Mau just wishes they would shut up about it and let him get on with saving everyone’s lives!


From the Hardcover edition.

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Nation + I Shall Wear Midnight: A Discworld Novel
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Review

“It’s witty and wise, but it leaves its young readers enough room for a newly formed opinion or two as they think about its themes of love, loss, loyalty, courage, religion and nationhood.”
— www.thebookbag.co.uk

“An enchanting novel . . . Terry Pratchett is one of the most interesting and critically under-rated novelists we have.”
The Times

“Pratchett is, like Mark Twain or Jonathan Swift, not just a great writer but also an original thinker.”
Guardian


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Terry Pratchett is the author of the phenomenally successful Discworld series. His first Discworld novel for children, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents was awarded the 2001 Carnegie Medal.


From the Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
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
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By KathyO
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was less magnetized by the "great discovery" at the centre of this book, than by the tender but so-far-from-cliche relationship between the two major characters. Yes, the book asks, and explores, the question of nationhood and continuity in a culture. But just as compellingly, it also explores the transition from childhood to adulthood with Pratchett's usual combination of humour, thoughtfulness, and situations that create greatness by requiring greatness from their participants. It was a real treat to walk that journey with both Mau and Daphne.

Terry Pratchett's health may be deteriorating, but he shows no signs of running out of important things to say. There are some Pratchett books I have read but not kept. This one's a keeper, though.
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