TERRY PRATCHETT - "THE TRUTH"
(For those of you who don't care a fig's leaf about my personal life, you can skip the following 5 paragraphs. Verbal diarrhoea alert!)
Those of you occasionally reading the recent music reviews may have read of the most impactful moment of my recent life - July 27th 2001, when my wife broke the news that she was seeing someone else and that, well, that was it for us.
Such as is the wont of people whose life is coming down around their ears (did I mention that the company I worked for went broke as well?), you try to fill up your life with things that give you back a sense of meaning, maybe even a sense of, to use the words of Wilbur Larch, "being useful". Maybe it's all one Great Escape, I don't know, everything is still way too fresh in my mind (and my heart) to be able to judge that. Whatever may be, I have decided to use my suddenly increased amount of spare time to do a lot of reading and to listen to a lot of loud music. The latter especially kept me going during the initial few weeks. I am afraid I am too little in touch with the Reptilian bits of my brain, so in order to get rid of some aggression I need loud music, played LOUD, and I need it a lot. Such as I wrote in one of the music reviews (August's Finntroll review, I recall), I am in debt to the likes of Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Monstrosity and, indeed, Finntroll, for enabling me to hold on to the frayed edges of sanity.
I also started to read a good deal. I was reading a book on dog behaviour around the time when Karin mentioned the Bad News, which kindof spoiled the topic for the near (and possibly distant) future. I then read a book by Rohinton Mistry ("A Fine Balance"). That's true literature, I guess, and the reason that you won't find a review here is that I cannot do the book justice on any but its superficial level. This superficial level being "a beautifully written story that teaches you a lot about events in India of the past half century". Next up was my trial of Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series, basically to see if I might be inclined to read the 8+ further volumes. I decided against writing a review because I suspect I won't be able to judge the book until I've read several (or all) other volumes. Of course, by then the task of writing reviews for all of them would be too gargantuan to contemplate, knowing me. Suffice to say, I will be reading all of them, the first was damn impressive.
The first 10 weeks after Bad News Friday were predominantly spent looking decidedly glum and feeling equally unhappy. Deserted, scared, awkward, pointless, lost and very, very tired.
Then I started reading Terry Pratchett's latest paperback release, "The Truth", this being the 25th Discworld novel. And before I knew it my eyes were glazing over not with the sensations of sadness caused by utter betrayal, but with joy. In a way, "The Truth" sent me, kicking and screaming as it were, into a healthier frame of mind. So Mr. Pratchett is the next in line, as in "Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Monstrosity, Finntroll and Terry Pratchett" when it comes to the list of, um, entities I need to credit for coming to the aid of the endangered species that my sanity had become. Hail, hail!
(End of verbal diarrhoea alert, and let's hope it was my last bout of this dread phenomenon anyway)
You can continue reading here :-)
In various earlier Discworld novels, Terry Pratchett took by the horns various earthly phenomena well suited for having the mickey taken out of. In "Moving Pictures" it was the movie industry, in "Soul Music" it was rock music. Those two Discworld novels rank among my favourite ones (together with any Discworld novel in which Death is the protagonist, obviously). In "The Truth" it's newspapers. It covers the life of Mr. William de Worde, journalist, who discovers what it's like to run a newspaper. The book introduces a variety of colourful characters, including the merciless 'facilitors' Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip, and the hilarious Otto (vampire with a suicidal fascination for flash photography). Maybe my life has recently just been too bland and without any reason for laughter so that anything halfway funny would seem hilarious by comparison, but I doubt that's the reason why "The Truth" caused me to laugh until my belly hurt and tears of mirth ran down my cheeks. Of course, the book is littered with witticisms and beautiful bits of word play (especially when Samuel Vimes or the Patrician talk with William de Worde) that are nothing short of products of genius. There's plenty of plot in "The Truth", but there's a big emphasis on laughs as well. It's just excellent.
Thanks, Mr. Pratchett, for showing me I can still laugh.
Released 2001, ISBN 0-552-14768-0
Written October 2001
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