Snuff – Book Review

It’s probably more like fangirl squee, but never mind.

This weekend involved reading Terry Pratchett’s latest novel, Snuff. As usual I finished up awed by the man’s skill and wondering why I bothered when I can’t hope to ever get close to that. Then all the layered bits started clicking together, which means I’m even more in awe, especially as the man freely admits he’s an extreme pantser (he doesn’t exactly use those words, but that’s what it comes down to).

The story, which of course isn’t what the book ended up actually being about, is the mayhem that results when Vimes takes a vacation in the countryside with his wife and son – young Sam now being at the age where all things scatological are hugely fascinating, this is rather like paradise, only with all sorts of fascinating poo to examine. Vimes of course is something of a trouble magnet, and promptly finds himself in the middle of some major malfeasance, which, being Vimes, ends up cascading into Even More So. Quaint countryside habits are examined through wobbly distorted panes of glass (this being one of the hazards of quaint, it would appear), sheep and other livestock are harassed, the social order gets a jolly good shaking, and ultimately Vimes sorts it all out. Sort of. More or less.

Mixed into this is a lovely little dig at Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice (one of the sisters is a lumberjack), an author who writes children’s books about poo and wee – and is naturally immensely popular with her audience – and a lurking examination of what makes people people.

This is one of Pratchett’s best, possibly even his best so far, and it had me between laughing and reaching for the kleenex.

A word of warning. Don’t start it in the evening unless you’re prepared for a very late night. Yes, it really is that good.

(Cross-posted to Mad Genius Club)


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