Sunday, August 06, 2006


Terry Pratchett
Fiction, Fantasy / Satire

This Discworld novel is loosely based on the very popular Phantom of the Opera, in that there is an opera house with resident Ghost, enormous flooded basements, divas in training and curious incidents, sometimes deadly ones. However, as with all of Pratchett's novels, the plotline is an excuse to examine the human condition and examine how people behave.

Agness Nitt of Lancre has come to the city of Ankh-Morpork in order to become something other than what she is. She tries out for the Opera House - under the name Perdita - and is hired on account of her incredible voice. Alas, Agnes is fat, and so plum parts go to Christine, a sqeaky-voiced skinny girl who happens to be related to one of the major funders for the opera. Agnes is to stand behind Christine and "ghost" her voice.

That is not the only ghost, of course, and accidents and murder start happening, making everyone very nervous. The arrival of Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, two witches from Lancre, doesn't make anyone less nervous, particularly when they start cutting to the heart of the mystery and making sure that people can't fall back on their comfortable preconceptions. Add some jewels, some singers who turn out to be other than they pretend, and a few pornographic recipes from Nanny Ogg's wildly successful Joye of Snacks, and you're in for a spectacle that goes in all manner of unexpected directions.

And, alas, a few all too expected ones, such as the fact that Agnes will never get the recognition she deserves because, well, she's fat. And Christine is not.


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