Terry Pratchett is an author whose works I haven’t read, and I must admit, regrettably so, wasn’t even aware of. This whole reading acclaimed authors/books is turning out to be an interesting exercise and I am only at my fourth book. A whole 96 more to go.
Getting back to novel no.4, Terry Pratchett’s Mort was shall I say a surprise. I went into this one with zero expectations but expectations have a strange tendency to create a range between good and bad and when you say zero you intend a neutral stance. You never, however, account for emotions such as surprise in that frame. And that is precisely what this book does to you. Throws out the whole frame and all you knew about expectations right out of the window.
Surprised? Flabbergasted is more like it. And by what you might ask. Well, humour. Yes. Humour. Not the in your face Ha Ha jokes or comic situations, but a blast of wit that hits you out of nowhere like that crazy little pup you just bumped into when you turn around the corner of an otherwise mundane street on an otherwise mundane morning. You jump. You are startled, and you find yourself laughing at your own silliness. Pretty much sums up the interjection of humour in this book. An odd joke or two creeps up at the most unexpected places. Not in a conversation, not a punchline at the end of a chapter, but just some random sentence bang in the middle of a character’s thoughts. Humour writ with wisdom, making it the funniest combination possible. Reminds me a lot of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. But that’s an epic for another day.
Mort is part of the author’s Discworld Series. The Discworld is an amazingly whimsical way of looking at the world we know. A flat world that rides on the back of four giant elephants who stand on the shell of the enormous star turtle Great A’Tuin and which is bounded by a waterfall that cascades endlessly into space. Mindblown at the picture this creates in your head? This is only the beginning.
Mort is the story of an otherwise clumsy fellow, whose behaviour doesn’t fit into the confines of a traditional way of being, and who soon finds himself employed as the apprentice of the oddest of employers – Death himself. And thus begins his adventures in this job and a realisation of how things look from up above or for that matter from beyond.
Throw in a place where time stands still, a name that no one remembers to call him by, a botched up errand, a bunch of wizards, a lonely daughter who surprisingly knows too much, a queen who should’ve been dead but isn’t, a kingdom in chaos, history busy trying to correct itself, reality trying to stitch the lines and Death trotting off on a vacation because he, of all people, is feeling low, and you would have what I call a weekend full of excitement, unpredictability and loads and loads of laughter.
Caution, read this at a place where you suddenly laughing out loud doesn’t necessarily draw unwanted attention or the occasional shush! Not that it bothered me. I was way too deep inside the Discworld.
Taking a line out of the book, May you also be able to see Octarine, the Eighth colour of the spectrum, the colour of magic, the pigment of imagination. Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting Mort by Terry Pratchett.
Photos: Remya Nair