Thirteen-year-old Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle, Daphne - a girl from the other side of the globe - is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.
Together, the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. And slowly, other refugees arrive - children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives - all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down....
Internationally revered storyteller Terry Pratchett presents a breathtaking adventure of survival and discovery, and of the courage required to forge new beliefs.
©2008 Terry and Lyn Pratchett; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
Like a previous reviewer, I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett's, but not blind to the fact that some of his novels are better than others.
That said, I've been listening to "Nation," and find it amazing. First of all, don't be mislead by the category of "young adult" reader. I'm pushing 60 pretty hard. The man reading this story does a truly fine job of interpreting characters and situations, and that alone makes this edition both worthwhile and entertaining.
But the real treasure here is Mr. Pratchett's understanding of the human spirit, and his ability to distill that which we all feel and know into a story. If Mr. Pratchett doesn't win some sort of recognition for this one, somebody's just not paying attention. It has everything: Brit humour, pathos, adventure, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, theology, and a stack of other 'ologies. And a rude parrot. And puking birds. It's really good.
I've read all of the Discworld series, and "Good Omens" as well, and feel that "Nation" is perhaps the best plotted story Pratchett has given us, if not his most meaningful philosophically. It is evident that he knew from the first page how he was going to reach the last page, as well as the points he wished to make while getting there. This book is a joy to read for any age and any level of understanding.
This is Pratchett at his subversive best. A welcome change to the Discworld books. In some ways you can ignore the 'Audible Kids' reference, that is simply because the protagonist is a teenager. This book can easily be enjoyed by the young and old alike. It is quite a dark story in some ways, so I would say it's maybe unsuitable for the really young, but maybe 12+ is the best ages.
Once again, a wonderful author's work is marred by "background music", a practice in books sold here that is increasing disturbingly. I want to hear the author's words, read by a good narrator (which Stephen Briggs is), and not some editor/director's idea of "mood music" to help me comprehend the story. With a storyteller like Terry Pratchett, no help is needed.
I would like to suggest that Audible put a warning on such recordings, perhaps something like, "Please note that this book has been recorded with background music that may detract from your enjoyment of the literature you thought you were purchasing." I, for one, would avoid books with such warnings. Another alternative in these days of easy audio editing would be to offer two versions: one with background music and one without.
By the way, this would of course have been a five star review provided that what I had received was an oral interpretation of the book that Mr. Pratchett wrote, instead of one that is "augmented" musically by some editor or "sound manager" who really needs to find another line of work, very quickly.
Audible Member Since 2003
I have listened to some other Terry Pratchett books and I enjoyed them more than NATION. It seems like this book could not decide if it was an adventure story or typical Pratchett British wry humor, and as a result neither quality was fully realized.
To be sure, NATION is a very entertaining light read/listen. The ending wraps up nicely as well. I got the impression however that at times Pratchett rushed through certain parts as if in a hurry to finish. This created some confusion when trying to comprehend just what was occurring in the story.
All in all, an easy listen - low four to high three stars.
House of Books
I've listened to this novel three times. It's a wonderful novel to begin with, but it gets better with each listen. The characters are intellectually curious and thoughtful and influenced by healthy and amusing cynicism. They accept nothing at face value. And, Mau's ability to milk a pig is quite remarkable. As usual, Pratchett has turned everything on its head. Pratchett is the best.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
It took me awhile to get into this book. That always happens with Terry Pratchett and me. I totally get Terry Pratchett just like I get most British humor. I just do not always appreciate it as perhaps I should. Once into it though, I became enamored with the story and particularly its telling.
The story is somewhat bittersweet and completely charming. While some might disagree, I think that it is a story for all ages. Stories of that ilk I do not always appreciate either but this one I did. The story can be read and taken on many levels. The topical story is simple and easily understood by anyone. The deeper message one can either take, leave or not even acknowledge. It's still a great story. For many reviewers, this is Terry Pratchett's finest work. This is not Discworld. This is something very special.
I must start by saying that Terry Pratchett is one of my top 10 favorite authors next to Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, PG Wodehouse and Robert Jordan. So going into this book, I probably have a pro-Pratchett bias. If you feel this is makes me unqualified to review this book, click the no next the question was this helpful and move on to the next review.
This title is an exploration of the coming of age plot. The main character is literally coming to age by the practices of his tribe when a strange and sudden tragedy forces him to come into full adult responsibility for the lives and health of others. Through a collection of near strangers his world is expanded. He grows to realize strongly that his world view may not be the only one out there.
Many reviews I have read from non-professionals like myself have stated that this book has a strong anti-religion theme. However, if anything it has a strong anti-tribalism theme (if you are thinking anti spears look up what tribalism actually means). The growth of this character is not the rejection of his father's religion but the realization that just because it was the one he was raised with does not make it better than everyone elses.
If anything this book has a pro-religion theme. As with many of Pratchett's works while they might take the mici out of The Gods from time to time the gods in this book definitely do exist. Philosophy has always been a strong theme in every book I have read by Mr. Pratchett and I think this is one of the defining reasons why I like his work. Well that and the 4 or 5 hours I spend smiling and laughing after I book the book down just thinking of my favorite bits.
At the top.
Hard to say what was best. It wasn't a typical Pratchett story, in that it wasn't a discworld novel. However, it was a great story about about communication across cultural and linguistic boundaries and understanding one's sense of place in the world.
His voice is perfect, his characters excellent. I wish he read all audiobooks, regardless of author or genre.
Laugh, for sure!
Buy it now.
I love most of Terry Pratchett's books but I was happy to find that this one broaches deeper topics that his usual work. Stephen Briggs continues to be a fabulous narrator! Great for adults and children. Inspired profound and thought provoking questions... Highly recommended
I have listened to several of Terry Pratchett's books--including the Tiffany Aching books with my kids and some of the Discworld novels on my own--and this is now most definitely my favorite. I think he did an amazing job with this book. It's about belief, not just religion, and explores the power of belief for its own sake.
We just loved it. The narrator was wonderful as well. We are so sad it's over!
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