Friday, March 28, 2008

Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchet

My kids and lovely wife have been gobbling up Terry Pratchet books since before Christmas (they claim Pratchet is a remedy against seasonal depression - like limes against scurvy), and they quote from them the way some people quote from Monty Python. The humor in Pratchet's books is unique, dry, and pokes deep fun at the human condition. So many characters to love, too, from Lu-Tze and his Way, to the witches Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax, to the members of the Night Watch. Even Death is lovable and funny, while Pratchet keeps him true to his deadpan character.

Pratchet seems at his very best and funniest in the streets of the all too human city of Ankh-Morpork, and the city's Night Watch might contain his most human characters. Our two oldest children have been trying to get me to read one of the "Watch" books for weeks now, and finally dear wife got the first one, Guards! Guards! on tape for my recent trip to South Carolina. I enjoyed every minute of it. With a deep abiding love of humanity, and a genius for hilarious views of its broken nature, Pratchet spins a wild tale of intrigue, dragons, detection, love, heroics, monarchy and democracy, and the real politics that win out in the end. It's the jolly mercenary baseness of the citizenry of Ankh-Morpork that makes you love them - like Fagan in Oliver. Or, more importantly, the way a certain garden-variety nobility shines forth here and there.

I'm certain my family will lay the other Watch books before me, and I'll relish every page - how can I not want to know what happens next to Captain Vimes, Sergeant Colon, Corporal Nobbs, and Lance-constable Carrot? Who wouldn't want to peer further into the intriguing mind of the Patrician. And these books leave you feeling realistic and forgiving about man's condition, and content with your lot. Not a bad place to end up.

1 comment:

Framed said...

I'm so glad I have this book sitting on my shelves. I'll know what to pull out when I need a really good laugh. Thanks for your review.