Terry Pratchett is an author I've been coming across for years. His name seems to leap off the shelves and maybe it's because he's written countless books. However, after reading some of their blurbs, I never felt like actually buying one. Pratchett writes about a parallel universe called Discworld. I wasn't attracted to a science fiction premise or someone who's been compared to Douglas Adams. I didn't enjoy the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy so I soon relegated Pratchett to the list of authors I've heard about but have never read. Funny thing is I've never known anyone who's read him either. But quite recently Claire from Paperback Reader wrote a post about his latest book, Unseen Academicals (you can read it here.) and I was suddenly intrigued.
Claire mentioned that a good place to start with Pratchett was a non-Discworld book such as Nation, an award-winning young adult novel. Nation is about a tsunami that devastates a tropical island leaving at first two teenage survivors, a local boy and a shipwrecked English girl. Together they start to rebuild civilization. Hmm, this did sound like an interesting novel and no, it's not a love story! A few days later, I was at a bookstore and there was Nation leaping out from the shelves and calling my name. Of course, I had to buy it and I'm so glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, so much so that I'm already hunting down Mort, the fourth Discworld book which Claire recommends as a good place to start the series. I can't wait to find it in fact. Pratchett is obviously a brilliant writer and I'm so glad there's a long list of books behind him.
Nation is also a deep and philosophical novel grappling with fundamental questions of humanity, religion, civilization and science. In spite of that, it's also fun and filled with humour, treasures, cannibals, evil sailors, spirits, pigs, dolphins, sharks, talking parrots and magic. I highly recommend this very original book.