Random House (2008)
ISBN: 978 0 385 61370 5
Reviewed by Tehani Wessely
This was a wonderful reading experience. Pure Pratchett genius, while less manically overt than some of the Discworld books, nonetheless deeply thought-provoking and at the same time a great read and even laugh out loud funny at times.
Island boy Mau is on his way home from the ritual to become a man when his whole world is destroyed. Losing everything, Mau must find his way back from the brink of devastation and loss, and learn how to be a man in a new world.
With a fascinating cast of characters, including the privileged (pseudo) European girl “Daphne”, who learns how to be herself after being marooned on Mau’s island, Pratchett paints an intricate and powerful alternate history designed to entertain and to make the reader think about life, culture and the world in general.
Dealing deeply with death and grief, Nation is not lightweight reading. However, neither does it lack the gorgeous Pratchett humour that has made his Discworld books so popular. Laugh out loud scenes intermingle with deeply touching interactions between characters that feel intensely real.
The subject matter and philosophical elements may not be accessible by younger readers, but I thoroughly recommend this novel for all ages over 13, for readers of all genres.