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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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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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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 For teaching Jan. 4 2011
By Kaija
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Wonderful! I began reading Terry Pratchett almost twenty years ago when I made the foolish decision to go on a tour of Europe with my friends and without any books. On the morning of the third day, I was desperately spinning the sole book display in the hotel bookshop of our London hotel, and was fortunate enough to come across Small Gods, which I read eleven times over the subsequent three weeks. Already owning two copies of Nation myself (one signed copy that I never read and one that I've read several times), I ordered a class set because our Humanities 9 curriculum requires us to go over nationalism, imperialism, and colonialism from 1500 - 1815. This book is a way to get students to realize that actual humans were involved in these processes, and to help them identify specific individuals, events and motivations during this time period. Terry Pratchett is frankly brilliant and I think I could develop a curriculum for every subject based solely on his books.
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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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