Love enough to break a heart

Terry Pratchett just gets better. I’ve always loved the Discworld books (except the first two; they’re okay, but not up to the standards of storytelling of the later ones). The stories are so imaginative that it’s easy to forgive a few places with sloppy point of view or a climax that drags a little.

I think one of the reasons his books work so well is that you have to suspend so much disbelief that it leaves you open for unexpectedly touching moments or drama that, if you’d consider it outside of the Discworld context, would be clumsy. “Reaper Man” and “Soul Music“, for instance, are surprisingly moving stories.

The third Tiffany Aching book, Wintersmith, is probably the best I’ve ever seen him write. Even if it is in the teen section. While it might be being marketed as young adult, that seems due to its thirteen-year-old heroine rather than any attempt to write down to a junior market. There’s still plenty of boozing, innuendo (“Is this about sex?” Tiffany asks Nanny Ogg) and musings on what the Nac Mac Feegle wear under their kilts. If Nanny doesn’t add any verses to “The hedgehog can never be buggered”, well, she hasn’t done that in a while.

What do you need to make a man?

Iron enough to make a nail,
Lime enough to paint a wall,
Water enough to drown a dog,
Sulfur enough to stop the fleas,
Poison enough to kill a cow,
Potash enough to wash a shirt,
Gold enough to buy a bean,
Silver enough to coat a pin,
Lead enough to ballast a bird,
Phosphor enough to light the town,

Strength enough to build a home,
Time enough to hold a child,
Love enough to break a heart.