| Between the Lines
Snuff to look out for!
There is always a bit of expectation hanging in the air when a new Terry Pratchett book is about to arrive. For me, I guess it would be similar to the feeling that kids would have the night before Christmas, when they are bouncing around the house with glee at the thought of Santa Claus and the gifts he will bring. Thankfully, Pratchett is very much like Santa Claus, from his snowy white beard to the fact that every year, like clockwork, he releases a book that amuses and entertains and makes you wish that there is already another book waiting for you when you finish the one you have received.
This year's release, titled Snuff, is another masterpiece in Pratchett's Discworld universe. The 39th entry into the series, allows the reader to follow long time recurring character, His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander and Blackboard Monitor Sir Samuel Vimes, as he does something that is long overdue, going on holiday. Seen as the “quintessential copper” that will not quit, we are not surprised (and secretly delighted) that within the first few hours that he arrives in the countryside he has already become embroiled with murder and politics. From there Pratchett weaves a story that has old established characters, as well as introduces new characters and a brand new setting to explore. This is done in a deft manner, overcoming a problem which occurred in last year's book Unseen Academicals, which had made the story inaccessible to new readers.
Besides the flair for creating a whole cast of interesting characters to lead us through the story, Pratchett's main stay is his humour and wit. He points out the foibles of society, of how just because it might be legal does not make it right, or just because you are wealthy does not mean that you are intelligent, or how sometimes being the hen-pecked husband is not that bad of a thing, and also how to slip in a dirty joke or three while talking to upper-crust snobs. His descriptions of everything, from a child's budding curiosity to the deplorable conditions of the goblin race, seen as vermin among all the other people and races of the Discworld, will make you in turn laugh and cry.
Ever since he was diagnosed with an early form of Alzheimer's and his vocal support of assisted suicide, makes one always depressed that any day now there will be a news item saying that Sir Terry is dead and the Discworld dream will have ended. These gems that he still continues to produce are both a blessing as well as a bit heart-rendering when one realises that it just might be the last one.
However, thankfully, Snuff is one of the high points of his writing career, so it brings more joy than sadness to one's heart and I can easily say that it is one of his masterpieces in a long line of masterpieces.