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Comments for Snuff

Snuff: 05/21/14

cover art

I have come to the conclusion that my favorite way to enjoy a Terry Pratchett book is through a combination of listening to an audio (preferably read by Stephen Briggs) and re-reading notable passages and chapters in print. What this means is I'm starting to amass duplicate copies of the Discworld novels.

Snuff by Terry Pratchett is the 39th Discworld novel. Commander Vimes is out of his element, taken on holiday to his wife's family estate. He's away from his bacon sandwiches, his Watch, and the streets of Ankh-Morpork. As an unwelcome outsider, and one who doesn't want to play by the rules ascribed to that of a lord, Vimes brings out the worst in people. He's also nearly framed for a murder.

Crime though is Vimes's thing. He has the law in his blood. The brutal killing of a goblin brings to the surface years of subjugation of, and violence against, goblins by humans (and other species of the disc). Vimes through his belief in the law swallows his prejudices long enough to get to know the goblins who live under the hills of this country township.

What surfaces through the investigation and growing friendship is a better understanding of goblin culture and the price they've paid for the expansion of human progress across the disc. While Jingo began the criticism of the spread of the British empire (through a political and military clash between Ankh-Morpork and Klatch), Snuff looks at the civilian cost of conquest � indigenous people wiped out through war and disease, other peoples transplanted through slavery, institutionalized poverty, loss of native culture and the imposing of a new culture and morality.

Snuff is one of most heartbreaking volume of the Discworld stories (I Shall Wear Midnight in close second). What started off as a series of humorous episodes full of puns and ridiculous situations has evolved into a mature (albeit entertaining) discussion of politics, racism, sexism, war, injustice, poverty, class and caste systems, religion, and on and on.

Five stars

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