|THERE'S NO JUSTICE, THERE'S JUST ME
||[Mar. 30th, 2015|10:24 pm]
As I was saying, when Terry Pratchett died I reached for my copy of Mort, and was bewildered to discover I didn't have one. How had this happened? Reality found this anomaly as disturbing as I did, and arranged for me to find a copy quickly, before the strain on the laws of nature became too great.
I associate Mort with my father. It's the book with which I introduced him to Pratchett. He had a taste for the macabre, an interest in death, not for its gruesome details but for its universal and inevitable self, and I thought he would enjoy Pratchett's version. He did, and the next year he complained &quoy;But you haven't given me any more Pratchett." I explained that he could buy his own, that even if the only bookshop in town was WH Smith, not really a bookshop at all, they would sell Pratchett. My sister and I read a passage from Mort at his funeral.
In that sense, it was a relief to confirm that Mort is as good as I remember it being: by which I mean, mostly, as funny. It's a very humane view of death (or Death), and what happens to Mort as he stands in for his master is entirely relevant to actual, non-fantasy, life: DEATH IS WHOEVER DOES DEATH'S JOB. But it's also laugh-out-loud funny - and mostly books don't make me laugh out loud, however much I am enjoying them. Mort made me laugh out loud several times. There is so much here that goes on to be part of the mythology, that reappears in book after book, but which is still fresh and delightful here in its original setting.
Perhaps you can't go on being fresh forever: later on, books like The Night Watch were praised for a new depth and richness, and while I enjoyed them, I couldn't love them the way I loved his 'early, funny ones'. So discovering that I do still love Mort every bit as much as I thought was sad, too. But if someone's written even one book that good, you have nothing to complain about.