I’ve been a fan of Terry Pratchett’s work since shortly after the publication of the first Discworld book. The idea of this biography, The Magic of Terry Pratchett by Marc Burrows, appealed a lot. It starts with a very good foreword by Helen O’Hara. It’s a concise round up of Pratchett in some ways. The author then gives an introduction to his book. He too is a fan and suggests that this book may be an opportunity to “meet” Terry Pratchett or at least “a” version of him.
I found the early chapters a little disappointing. The writing seemed rather basic – rather like an episode of “This is your life”. First he did this, then he did that. However the book got going for me properly after that. While I may not have been convinced initially, the more I read the more this book grew on me. I felt it was a very good overview of Terry Pratchett’s work. This gave me insights into aspects of his life and work that I was not aware of. I also found out things that I had not previously been aware of.
The fact that I generally agree with the author’s views may be worth bearing in mind while reading this review. However I do have some slight caveats with this book. I’m not sure I really agree with the footnotes idea as used here – Pratchett did it his way and brilliantly. The author here uses some conventionally and some in Pratchett’s style. Another issue is that this has mostly been gleaned from external sources it seems. This leads to some uncertainty about some of the stories.
A fundamental uncertainly is simply the fact that Pratchett tended to embroider his own version(s!) of events over the years – he was a story teller after all! I found this quite entertaining and was one of those insights that I enjoyed. The Magic of Terry Pratchett is definitely a book that fans will be interested in reading.
Note – I received an advance digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair review