Just finished reading The Truth by Terry Pratchett, another of his Discworld series. I feel completely embarrassed to discover that he’s been one of the most popular novelists in the UK (probably only barring J.K. Rowling, really) for decades.
It’s a bit how I felt when I didn’t really get the Stones until my twenties. Oh, sure, I liked the Stones, but I didn’t really get them. Then one day I was listening to Miss You on one of those wretched cross-country road-trips where you can only get bullshit classic rock, and it hit me like a ton of, well, stones: “Oh, you —-ing idiot, there’s a reason this band is considered one of (if not) the greatest ever. Because they are. I mean, that bassline alone…!”
Sometimes wisdom takes its sweet-ass time while you’re embarrassing yourself.
The point is, Terry Pratchett can write like very few people can. The fantasy version of Douglas Adams (although Pratchett is actually a few years older than Adams would have been- they were contemporaries) but with more a humanist beauty to his writing- even his evil-doers have a sympathy and forgiving humorous tick to them. And even though many of his endings tie their knots just so, it never feels contrived, forced or trite. It feels as it should be.
That’s quite the slight of hand. And he’s so very English. Which is why he was knighted, I suppose.
In the past couple of years, I’ve read The Truth, Guards! Guards!, Going Postal, Soul Music, and Making Money. Only 33 more to go!
Terry also was diagnosed with Alzheimers in 2007. Anyone wishing to make a donation in his name can do so at Match it for Pratchett.org.