Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Read-Along: Nation #MarchMagics

Cover of Terry Pratchett's book Nation

Terry Pratchett's Nation is a multiverse book, a "not our world but one a lot like it" story that brings together two young people who are an unlikely pair. There is Mau, the young Pacific Islander on the cusp of manhood who loses everything when his village is destroyed by a giant wave. And there is Daphne, a British young woman who used to be Ermintrude but who used the wreck of the ship she was on to reinvent herself. Her ship, of course, wrecks on the island that used to be the home of the Nation, Mau's people. As other refugees from the storm start arriving on the island, Mau and Daphne learn to communicate and to create a new found-family as they also strive to each understand themselves better.

I couldn't have picked a better book to fit my "All Together Now" theme. So many characters come together, each with their own strengths, to build a new community from the remains of the old one. They do things that are hard and sometimes uncomfortable but it allows them to process their grief and move forward and to save each other. There is also the pro-science message of the story that seems especially timely right now.

Some things I thought about while reading, if anyone wants to discuss:
Why are we always so certain when we speak about history when we are constantly discovering new facts about what came before?
Will white supremacy ever end or will it eventually be the end of our species?
Why can't we stand up to our grandparents or other elders when they are obviously wrong/mean?
Could you survive alone (or almost alone) on a previously inhabited island?
Can you really shout underwater to scare away a shark? (I looked this one up. The answer is ... maybe sometimes.)

I hope most of you will eventually read this book if you didn't get around to it for this event. It is a fantastic story that showcases more of the philosophical side of Pratchett. There is definitely still humor but it takes a backseat in this one and I found it refreshing. Of course I'm reading Guards! Guards! right now so I can obviously appreciate all of the humor as well. He really was one of the best.


  1. I'm not reading this right now but I really want to read it again! Your questions are thought provoking.

    My son didn't get into it, alas. But right now he is currently on his third Discworld book and says "Pratchett is a genius" so maybe he'll come back to it and appreciate it one day.

    1. Z liked Wee Free Men but then stalled during Mort. I am trying to get him to keep going with the Tiffany Achings!

    2. Mort was his first Discworld (I read it aloud, or started to...he finished it himself, which is what usually happens.) For whatever reason, it clicked with him and I was so glad! Hope the Tiffany Achings catch on with your son.