Sunday, February 10, 2008

Discworld 04 Mort

I’ve just finished reading Terry Pratchetts Mort which is the fourth book in his Discworld series. With this book, Pratchett’s writing can be seen to be getting more mature, and more meaningful. In the previous three novels of the series, Pratchett was concentrating on being funny and spoofing existing fantasy literature. With Mort and to some extent even with the previous one Equal Rites he is starting to construct literature of his own.

One of the defining factors of his earlier two books was that he was locally meaningful. What I mean by that is that the novel on the whole didn’t really have an allegorical meaning. But scene by scene you could see the allegory and individual incidents had meaning that went beyond the surface.

With Mort, however, that changes. The novel on the whole is better structured, and there is meaning to the entire plot line. The main character of Mort is Death, who , in his own words, is the ANTHROPOMORPHIC PERSONIFICATION of death. Pratchett maintains throughout his novel that only death is real, because he is everywhere and everything dies, in the end. But death is also lack of change and life is embracing change.

Funny things start happening when Death tried to understand life and goes out into the shady city of Ankh-Morpork exploring the so called pleasures of life – wine, gambling, drinking and dance. And when he doesn’t find any pleasure in those he takes up a job as a butcher where he finally finds peace and solitude, the pleasures of a ‘settled’ life that he had never known. But things begin getting awry in his realm and his new apprentice, Mort, takes it upon himself to keep performing his duties. As Mort takes Death’s horse, Binky, and sets out to deliver souls to the other world, he is unable to stop the Event Horizon of history from collapsing around the damsel who he should have killed but didn’t, out of love, and who is now not dead but should be.

As you can see, the narrative is fast and full of twists and turns and this one is actually a page turner. And like all of Pratchett’s writing, it is infused with subtle humour that is the hallmark of his writing. I think out of the four Discworld novels that I’ve read till now, this one was the best.

This post is also available on Tastysamosas.com

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