4 March 2013
REVIEW: GOING POSTAL
Series: Yes, but you can absolutely read the Discworld series out of order
UK Publisher: Corgi
UK Release date: 2005
Moist von Lipwig was a con artist and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork’s ailing postal service back on its feet. It was a tough decision. But he’s got to see that the mail gets through, come rain, hail, sleet, dogs, the Post Office Workers Friendly and Benevolent Society, the evil chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, and a midnight killer. Getting a date with Adora Bell Dearheart would be nice, too. Maybe it’ll take a criminal to succeed where honest men have failed, or maybe it’s a death sentence either way. Or perhaps there’s a shot at redemption in the mad world of the mail, waiting for a man who’s prepared to push the envelope...
Being a big fan of Terry Pratchett's other books, and the TV version of this book, you can easily imagine my thoughts after reading Going Postal. It didn't disappoint; in fact I loved it.
When I tell you about the main protagonist, Moist von Lipwig, you may wonder why I loved it so much. Moist was a con artist, swindler and trickster. I shouldn't have liked him, because he stole, cheated and lied at every turn. And when he wasn't doing that, he was running away like a coward. But I did really like him and I found his story to be captivating, humorous and fast paced. Perhaps it was because of his witty narrative and charisma. Or perhaps it was because he started out at his lowest point - on the hangman's noose - and from there he could only go up. He struggled to see the error of his ways, and continued to manipulate people into being on his side, however it wasn't done maliciously. And because he ended up caring for the people in the post office, it turned out to be a good thing. In fact, this quick wit, bravado and fast mouth, were the very things needed to bring life back into the post office.
In his typical style, Terry Pratchett included plenty of humour and wit. I smiled and giggled my way through the book. However there was also a moral element to the story. Vetinari, the leader of Ankh-Morpork, may be fearsome, but he is also fair. He doesn't just punish Moist von Lipwig for his crimes. He offers him a choice, and a chance at redemption.
The story held plenty of action, twists, turns and surprises. And of course, a handful of weirdness. I love the way Terry Pratchett took something so normal, like post and stamps, and turned it into this fantastical and frantic race to succeed, and do right by the common people of Ankh-Morpork. I have no idea how stamps came into being in our own world, but it was fascinating to see how the idea of them developed in this story.
Once again Terry Pratchett creates magic on each page. If you love a book with fantasy, humour and bold characters, then please read this!