Moist von Lipwig was 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 was a tough decision. But he's got to see that the mail gets though, come rain, hail, sleet, dogs, the Post Office Workers Friendly and Benevolent Society, the evil chairman of the Grand Trunk Semaphore Company, and a midnight killer. Getting a date with Adora Bell Dearheart would be nice, too.
Maybe it'll take a criminal to succeed where honest men have failed, or maybe it's a death sentence either way. Or perhaps there's a shot at redemption in the mad world of the mail, waiting for a man who's prepared to push the envelope....
Another Terry Pratchett Classic in the making, 'Going Postal' is a wonderful look at todays competitive communications industry, and how it can be stripped right back to it's basics and then made fun of in a semi-serious kind of way.
The 'playground politics' that govern our communications infrastructure really are petty and driven by greed, money and more money... when you prune away the window-dressing and official red-tape. However, sometimes the best cops are ex-crooks... and the main character (most of the time known as Moist von Lipwig) is a great example of this. A ex-fraudster, forger, conman and general all-round highly-intelligent lowlife is the perfect man for the job of taking a beat-up, worn-down collapsed postal system and rebuilding it into a wonder to rival even it's own former glory.
As he says, "...it's all about people skills." You can only sell brass-and-glass if you make them REALLY WANT to see a gold-and-diamond one... people's minds will fill in the blanks if you give them the right suggestion... however if you try to make it perfect, they will spot the slightest 'not QUITE right' bit. Having studied human behaviour in a number of ways, I know this to be indeed true.
Filled with subtle jokes, and a few not-at-all-subtle ones to keep the average Joe Public entertained too, you will find this to be another brilliant example of Pratchett's wit and intellect in action. Fans of his works will find room on their bookshelves for this volume, though at nearly $50, you would have to be a dedicated fan (like me) to want the hardcover edition. I daresay the paperback edition will be a more popular choice for the masses... but any serious bibliophile will be heading for the hardcover.
Overall, I blitzed through this one in record time, because I simply did not want to put it down, much to the annoyance of some of the local drivers... hint: Don't get so lost in the book that you forget to look at the road for oncoming traffic... like I did a couple of times. Thanks be to who/whatever watches over us that I heard the engines in time!
Random listing from 'Books'...
Three children are spending their summer on a wild Scottish island. Fraser is desperate for adventure; Hayley is fed up she's even there; while Dunny spends his days staring out to sea. He hasn't said a word in years.
But everything changes with the discovery of two bodies on the beach: a whale and a man. Fraser and Hayley see a mystery-adventure to be solved, but Dunny is inconsolable. And in the end, it will take someone who listens to the sea to put it right.
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"Character - the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life - is the source from which self respect springs."
Joan Didion (1934 - ), 'Slouching Towards Bethlehem'