It’s always exciting to make another inroad into the vast universe of Discworld, especially one which falls into a new subcategory, as Going Postal did for me. The name Moist von Lipwig was familiar, but everything else about the character and his history came as a delightful surprise. As goals go, ‘rejuvenate the postal system’ doesn’t sound as though it will be all that absorbing and yet, as Moist applies his skills as a conman to the business of civil service, the story sweeps you along nicely. Had Going Postalbeen nothing but a series of escalating problems successfully solved, it would have been enjoyable.
He felt the tingle he always felt when the game was afoot. Life should be made up of moments like this, he decided.Going Postal, Terry Pratchett
Of course, things can’t be that simple: the conflict is well-paced, reminding me a little of The Once and Future Witches, though with a less dramatic emotional punch. Everything that Terry Pratchett sets up pays off, or else seems like fertile ground for future novels to explore. Going Postal’s prose is of the clear, unassuming kind that doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the plot. The only rough part was a portion of dramatic irony, which I have an incredibly low tolerance for.
But what was happening now… this was magical. Ordinary men had dreamed it up and put it together, building towers on rafts in swamps and across the frozen spines of mountains. They’d cursed and, worse; used logarithms. They’d waded through rivers and dabbled in trigonometry. They hadn’t dreamed, in the way people usually used the word, but they’d imagined a different world, and bent metal round it. And out of all the sweat and swearing and mathematics had come this… thing, dropping words across the world as softly as starlight.Going Postal, Terry Pratchett
While it seems necessary to mention social commentary in any Discworld review, it’s not something which jumps out to me as a reviewer. This may be why I find Terry Pratchett’s novels enjoyable but not sparklingly magical. For any readers in a similar position: Going Postal is perfectly enjoyable without engaging with the deeper meaning!
While I’m not sure I’ll ever get around to reading every Discworld novel, I do hope to eventually make the acquaintance of Samuel Vimes and Granny Weatherwax, so this won’t be the last time I read Terry Pratchett.