Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
For a long time, Terry Pratchett focused very intently on several groups of characters. He would often return to Sam Vimes, the Witches, Death or Rincewind. However over the past several years he has invested time in planting new characters into his Discworld, and one of the greatest inclusions – without a doubt – has been Moist von Lipwig.
Moist first made his appearance in Pratchett's 33rd Discworld novel, Going Postal. We are immediately introduced to Moist von Lipwig, a successful con artist who has recently been captured. However, though the noose is pulled and the door gives way, Moist soon finds himself sitting opposite Lord Vetinari, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork.
One of the reasons Moist is such a great character is because of the back and forth that he has with Vetinari. Easily one of the most overlooked yet brilliant characters, Vetinari is allowed more “screen-”time in this book and makes for one of the more interesting perspectives in the book.
But, as much as I would love a book entirely devoted to Vetinari, this book is first and foremost Moist von Lipwig's book.
Sticking to my desire not to simply summarize a book and hope that the vague outline is enough to make you go buy it, and having to contend with the fact that, at 33 books, Pratchett is probably doing something right, I'm a little lost as to what to say.
What I will say is that, once again, the story belongs to the characters of the book. As much as the intriguing and at times hilariously baffling storyline will never lose your interest, it is Junior Postman Groat and Stanley, Mr. Tiddles and Mr. Pump, and Adora Belle Dearheart who make this book brilliant.
Groat is a hypochondriacally wound up mess, whereas Stanley is the neurotic collector-nerd in all of us (or is it just me?). Together they are the entirety of the Ankh-Morkpok Post Office's employees when Moist is tasked with rebuilding the long forgotten public service. And it is Moist's con-artistry that makes him the perfect choice to run a utility like the post. That people will buy a stamp simply to mail it to themselves to have a first edition stamp seems like the greatest con that no one will ever arrest you for.
And while the story does rest on the strong shoulders of the characters, the understory that sees Moist attempt to right wrongs done to the inventors of the clacks is nothing short of mesmerizing. Pratchett has this knack for being able to so totally invent a location, its inhabitants, its business life and its mechanics, you are left astounded. Pratchett must spend one half of his time writing and the other half reading up on how semaphore works, and how the post office works, and ... the sheer authenticity of the world that Pratchett presents to the reader at times blows the mind.
Sadly, Pratchett is his own worst enemy, in my opinion. While I can hardly find anything to mark this book down on, it suffers from being “just not as good” as other books he has written. Maybe this is up for debate, but books like Nation, Night Watch and the Fifth Elephant all equal 10 out of 10's, thus relegating Going Postal to a lowly 8 or 9.
Nevertheless, if you want to get into Terry Pratchett's Discworld and you haven't known where to start, this is a great start. The majority of the characters are new, and the world is explained for Moist as well as for you. This is a must to have on your shelf!
This Going Postal book review was written by Joshua S Hill
All reviews for: The Discworld Series
The Colour Of Magic
The Discworld Series: Book 1
In the beginning there was…a turtle. Somewhere on the frontier between thought and reality exists the Discworld, a parallel time and place which might sound and smel...
Lords and Ladies
The Discworld Series: Book 14
The fairies are back – but this time they don’t just want your teeth… It's Midsummer Night - no time for dreaming. Because sometimes, when there'...
Feet of Clay
The Discworld Series: Book 19
For Commander Vimes, Head of Ankh-Morpork City Watch, life consists of troubling times, linked together by…well, more troubling times. Right now, it’s the latt...
The Light Fantastic
The Discworld Series: Book 2
A red star has appeared in the sky and the Discworld is heading right towards it. There is only one person who can save the world; but unfortunately this is the rather inep...
The Discworld Series: Book 20
Throughout history, there's always been a perfectly good reason to start a war. Never more so if it is over a 'strategic' piece of old rock in the middle of now...
The Fifth Elephant
The Discworld Series: Book 24
They say that diplomacy is a gentle art. That its finest practitioners are subtle, sophisticated individuals for whom nuance and subtext are meat and drink. And that master...
The Discworld Series: Book 28
For a policeman, there can be few things worse than a serial killer at loose in your city. Except, perhaps, a serial killer who targets coppers, and a city on the brink of ...
The Discworld Series: Book 3
Death comes to us all. When he came to Mort, he offered him a job. After being assured that being dead was not compulsory, Mort accepted. However, he soon found that romant...
The Discworld Series: Book 3
The last thing the wizard Drum Billet did, before Death laid a bony hand on his shoulder, was to pass on his staff of power to the eighth son of an eighth son. Unfortunatel...
The Wee Free Men
The Discworld Series: Book 30
Nine-year-old Tiffany Aching thinks her Granny Aching – a wise shepherd – might have been a witch, but now Granny Aching is dead and it’s up to Tiffany to...
The Discworld Series: Book 31
Polly becomes Private Oliver Perks, who is on a quest to find her older brother, who's recently MIA in one of the innumerable wars the tiny nation of Borogravia has a h...
A Hat Full of Sky
The Discworld Series: Book 32
Something is coming after Tiffany . . .Tiffany Aching is ready to begin her apprenticeship in magic. She expects spells and magic – not chores and ill-tempered...
The Discworld Series: Book 33
Moist von Lipwig is a con artist... ... and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork's ailing postal service back on its feet. It'...
The Discworld Series: Book 35
Tiffany Aching is a trainee witch — now working for the seriously scary Miss Treason. But when Tiffany witnesses the Dark Dance — the crossover from summer to w...
The Discworld Series: Book 36
It’s an offer you can’t refuse. Who would not to wish to be the man in charge of Ankh-Morpork’s Royal Mint and the bank next door? It’s a job for li...
The Discworld Series: Book 37
Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood ...
I Shall Wear Midnight
The Discworld Series: Book 38
A man with no eyes. No eyes at all. Two tunnels in his head... It's not easy being a witch, and it's certainly not all whizzing about on broomsticks, but Tiffany Ac...
The Discworld Series: Book 39
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse. And Commander Sam...
The Discworld Series: Book 4
There was an eighth son of an eighth son. He was, quite naturally, a wizard. And there it should have ended. However (for reasons we'd better not go into), he had seven...
The Discworld Series: Book 40
To the consternation of the patrician, Lord Vetinari, a new invention has arrived in Ankh-Morpork - a great clanging monster of a machine that harnesses the power of all of...
The Shepherds Crown
The Discworld Series: Book 41
Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength. This is a time ...
The Discworld Series: Book 8
Here there be dragons . . . and the denizens of Ankh-Morpork wish one huge firebreather would return from whence it came. Long believed extinct, a superb specimen of draco ...
Have you read Going Postal?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Going Postal reader reviews
Rebecca from Canada
I feel like all of Pratchett's books are tens, but I'm comparing to his other books with this "9". Comparing it to Mort, mainly. Going Postal was an absolutely astounding novel! It does a really good job of explaining the way Discworld works, (see: Bloody Stupid Johnson) and all of the characters are both outrageously funny and deeply interesting. Any scene with Lord Vetinari puts a malicious grin on my face, and any scene with Groat leaves me a giggling mess. The main character miraculously manages to be relatable despite everything, and the story feels very, very real. As an added treat, Death gets a brief cameo! I think this book is the epitome of Pratchett-ness...And that's SPECTACULAR. Get this on your shelf.
8.8/10 from 2 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Red Dwarf: Better Than Life
Rimmer, Cat and Kryten are trapped in a computer game which can transport players directly to the world of imagination, a world where each player can enjoy fabulous success...
Live fast, die young.Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventur...
Knights of the Dead God
The half-orc girl, Mikaia Goretusk, has been torn from her home. Her world. Her family. Her only allies are the holy knight, Arthur Shield, once sworn to kill everyone she ...
War God Rising
Sand is destined for greatness. Or so a pair of two-bit criminals would have him believe. After rescuing him from certain doom, Bess and Kaede embark on a scheme to game th...
Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers
When Lister got drunk, he really got drunk! After celebrating his birthday with a Monopoly-board pub crawl around London, he came to in a burger bar on one of Saturns ...
A brand new adventure fantasy: imagine Guardians of the Galaxyplanning a heist on Smaug's gold, for fans looking for something with a modern twist and some humor....
The Serpent of Venice
Venice, a long time ago. Three prominent Venetians await their most loathsome and foul dinner guest, the erstwhile envoy from the Queen of Britain: the rascal-Fool Pocket.T...
Robert Olen Butler
Hatcher McCord is an evening newscaster who has found himself in Hell and is struggling to explain his bad fortune. He's far from the only one to suffer this fate - in ...
The Good, The Mad and The Undead
Having remained in hiding for two long months, Mallik is starting to get itchy feet, and his urges for adventure are ending in increasingly violent outbursts. The two men h...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: