In One Word

In One Word, Jingo by Terry Pratchett is…

jingo

  • First published in 1997
  • Format: Audiobook
    • Narrator: Nigel Planer
    • Listening Speed: 1.5x
  • Listening Time: 3 clever days

Absurdist

  • Another City Watch book for Turtle Recall. This one sees Commander Sam Vimes caught up in a war over a tiny piece of ‘strategic’ land sprung out of the sea between Ankh-Morpork and the capital city of Klatch. Like any good neighbours, the two countries waste no time in dispensing with democracy and calling up their armies. The one thing neither countries could count on, however, was Sam Vimes wading into the fray in order to put a stop to it before some idiot gets hurt.
  • Brilliant humour as usual. This time, it’s provided by Nobby, who has been possessed with the idea to revive his sex life (which didn’t turn out to be as horrifying as that sound) and Vimes’ constant battle with his imp disorganiser. The actual conflict that started the whole war is also a good source of humour. It started ridiculous and only became more silly as time went on.
  • Sees another appearance by Leonard di Quirm, the mad but perfectly pleasant genius with no head for names and an incredibly short attention span, and his every appearance is a highlight. As is every confrontation between Lord Rust and Sam Vimes. Lord Rust was made into the perfectly despicable general who’d happily send brave men off to their doom so he gets a mention in history that it’s impossible not to cheer Vimes on as he works to undermine him and protect the soldiers. 71-Hour Ahmed was a figure of mystery for most of the novel but, by the end, he becomes a very interesting and even likeable figure, though still a bit scary.
  • Utterly adore the mick-taking of the, well, jingoism demonstrated flawlessly in its full ridiculousness by Colon. If something is so ridiculous that even Nobby can see the flaws in the argument, you know it’s stupid. I just wish it wasn’t still relevant. There are a few racist slurs but they are properly portrayed as a negative and the author neatly evaded all the more offensive Arab stereotypes. Where it does make fun of Arabic cliches, it’s clearly well researched and is make to poke fun rather than be offensive (e.g. the dispute between two Klatchian peoples caused by the translation of a single word is based on the real life divide between the two branches of Islam). The world building around the Klatchian nations is very well done, poking fun at all the silly ideas and cliches around them all the time and showing the Klatchians as just normal people in slightly different clothes and customs. Pratchett even squeezed in some more world building on the Discworld in general, including some truly bizarre weather events and the difference between a ten-penny and a ten-dollar fortune telling.
  • Really liked the parts where divergent timelines got involved. I’m not going to spoil how and the first mention is so small and easily dismissed that it shocked me when it was brought up later in the story. It started as just another joke but it got pretty dark later on and it took me as off guard as it did the other characters.
  • Delicately weaves together two or three storylines at once with different members of the City Watch following their own respective missions. Vimes follows the clues to what’s really going on behind the sabre rattling while Nobby and Colon follow the Patrician on a strange secret mission known only to the latter and hidden from the reader right up to the end. For all the chaos going on, Pratchett managed to keep all storylines distinct and easy to follow. Not an easy task.
  • Incredible quotes on Us and Them mentality and what history is built on that both managed to be profound and down-to-earth in the way only Pratchett can manage.
  • Story slowed down a bit as it was getting near the end and I had no idea where it was going to end. The conclusion is a little too drawn out as well. Stick with it, though. It’s well worth your patience in the end.
  • The story ends in the same way I’ve come to expect from a City Watch story. Still, just because the format is predictable doesn’t mean it can’t be satisfying and I’m happy to say that this one felt great.

Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Did you agree with my rating? Can you think of a better word to describe it? Please let me know with a like, share or comment.

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