Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm a big Pratchett fan - in fact, flying with one of his books in hand has become a travel tradition (in an airplane, of course). Since hearing about his declining health, I've been saving them up ... but my copy of Going Postal being hardcover and too unwieldy to carry on, I finally picked it up and was very happy I did.
I can see why some people didn't like this book: especially early on, the absurdity and literal stretching of human foibles makes it difficult to suspend disbelief ... to the point where one is occasionally suspended above the story, not really able to connect or care about it.
Which is a shame, because Moist builds into a very complex, nuanced character, someone you want to empathize with. His growth and change - and sometimes, non-change - through the story is very well-done. And while some of the secondary characters are basically extended absurdist gags, others are fully fleshed and engaging in their own right. I particularly enjoyed the incorporation of golems here.
One of the things I've always loved about Pratchett is how he incorporates modern institutions and paradigms by applying a special brand of logic to a traditional (... sort of!) fantasy setting. Going Postal is particularly rife with examples of this.
I found the solution to the book's central problem got unnecessarily twisted / contradictory / muddy at the end, but getting there was a blast, and darned if a few things near the end didn't make me tear up. Highly recommended.
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