Monday, November 16, 2015

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett (1986)

The Colour of Magic is like smelling Thanksgiving dinner cooking after the car pulls up in front of grandma's house and you jump out - you know you are in for good things.  The Light Fantastic is opening the door, and there is grandma with the turkey and all the trimmings.  Everything I love about Pratchett is here:  not just the humor (that's just a given about Pratchett, I think) but also the wicked wit, the wonderfully awful puns, the meandering plot (everything plus the kitchen sink), the tongue in cheek, the knowing nudge, the rolling eyes - and then the inevitable and usually exquisite philosophical turn, that moment when Rincewind essentially turns to the reader and you learn something about life and/or death.  Speaking of Who, Death is here in full force; plus the librarian (I think in his first appearance as a primate).

There is so much wonderfulness here that nothing can truly be pinned down.  But I did at one point snort so loudly that my husband turned to me, and I was forced to read aloud a particuarly incredible pun describing a riot:  "All the shops have been smashed open.  There was a whole bunch of people across the street helping themselves to musical instruments, can you believe that?"  "Yeah... 'Luters, I expect."

Pratchett writes this incredible  and laugh out loud description of Ankh-Morpork, that deserves to be quoted in full - but I think if you are actually reading this, you should just go find this book and then turn to page 181 (in my edition, or around there).  It starts with "Ankh-Morpork!  Pearl of cities!" with a well quoted paragraph that I won't spoil here (google it) but then evolves/devolves (simultaneously, hense this is one of those truly magical phrases found in strongly crafted literature) into a golden scree describing the smell of the city... "You can talk about tramps.  You can talk about garlic.  You can talk about France.  Go on.  But if you haven't smelled Ankh-Morpork on a hot day you haven't smelled anything.  The citizens are proud of it.  They carry chairs outside to enjoy it on a really good day..."  And  wittily and hilariously so on.

Not my favorite Discworld book - the witches are yet to come - but marvelous all the same.


The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2)The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Colour of Magic, the first Discworld book, is like smelling Thanksgiving dinner cooking after the car pulls up in front of grandma's house and you jump out - you know you are in for good things. The Light Fantastic, #2, is opening the door, and there is grandma with the turkey and all the trimmings. Everything I love about Pratchett is here: not just the humor (that's just a given about Pratchett, I think) but also the wicked wit, the wonderfully awful puns, the meandering plot (everything plus the kitchen sink), the tongue in cheek, the knowing nudge, the rolling eyes - and then the inevitable and usually exquisite philosophical turn, that moment when Rincewind essentially turns to the reader and you learn something about life and/or death. Speaking of Who, Death is here in full force; plus the librarian (I think in his first appearance as a primate). This isn't my most favorite Discworld novel - the witches, always the witches - but it's damn good.


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