A Lifetime of Pointed Silliness: Terry Pratchett’s Making Money

When it comes to beloved authors, I hoard and conserve. An author only writes so many works, and I live with an unread copy of their latest book on my shelf, for when I really need it. I’m that way with Margaret Atwood, A.S. Byatt, and Terry Pratchett. I first encountered his wonderfully ridiculous Discworld as a freshman in high school. My English teacher had a copy of the Colour of Magic on her lending shelf, and after reading it, I used funds from my first job to join a Science Fiction book club. I soon had little hardback copies of Sourcery, the Light Fantastic, Equal Rites, and Mort.

Over the last twenty years, I’ve read Terry Pratchett’s books, always keeping one unread on the shelf. He’s been a constant presence in my adult life, and I can map it by his work. Witches Abroad remains my favorite, and if you have a hard time finding it in Denver, that’s because I snatch up any copies I see in the stores and give them away. When I’m going through a bad spot, I call in sick to work, and read Terry Pratchett, so I’m hardly able to write an unbiased review. Fortunately, Making Money is his best in years. It taps into the current global financial crisis and finds a satirical vein in the dichotomy between the upper and lower classes. I had expected, with the news of Pratchett’s Alzheimer’s struggle that he might be off his game, but Making Money is literally laugh out loud funny and perfectly balances humor, intrigue, and social commentary.

Pratchett draws on the slew of characters he’s built up over the years, the scheming denizens of Ankh-Morpork, but we’re never taken too far off track by the cameos. Making Money is tightly written, and the few asides are worth the Easter egg connections they make to other books. While the book is technically a sequel to Going Postal, and draws a lot on characters developed in the Watch series, you don’t need them to jump in here. The denouement is typical Pratchett: for a moment he indicates that he could write a bad ass ending, bring it all down in fire and glory, but he chooses irony and humor instead. I hope Making Money is far from the last Pratchett, because he’s only getting better with time.

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