The arrival of a new Pratchett is always a big deal here in our tiny refuge within the hellish suburbian post-industrial wastelands that they call South-East Essex. It pretty much means that I will not be available for any chores within the house, including picking up the phone, answer emails or at all rise from the sofa. After me finishing The Book, it’s the best girlfriend’s ever turn to take over the tome and to indulge in a brief spell of escapism full of politically incorrect witches, moronic right wing types, ghosts with OCD and anarchic gnomes. So this time it was the teenage witch Tiffany to take over the helm in the protagonist’s chair and as before she seems to bring out Pratchett’s more introspective side. Why this book is labelled ‘for young adults’ (like the previous Tiffany novels) is beyond me. First, you could very well argue that all of Pratchett’s books appeal to young adults (and middle aged adults and older adults and decrepit old fogies like myself). Second, Tiffany always seems to bring out Prattchett’s philosophical side, making the books arguably more attractive to an older audience. Third, the distiction is completely arbitrary.
Anyway, the book is (as usual) a cracker. It covers all the usual, recurring issues that Pratchett (understandably) has been grappling with repeatedly in his last novels: Hate, tolerance, feminism, death, pre- and postmarital sex are all covered with Pratchett’s usual deftness and it’s hard not to feel both elated and shed a tear at the end of the novel.
I remain convinced that if more people would read Pratchett (especially Teaparty conservatives), the world would surely a better place, but that remains a pipe dream as he is surely blacklisted for these guys, just like that dangerous indoctrinator J.K. Rowling.