When the hurly-burly’s done

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Witches Abroad
by Terry Pratchett.
A Discworld novel,
Corgi Books 1992 (1991).

‘They must have witches here,’ said Magrat. ‘Everywhere has witches. You’ve got to have witches abroad. You find witches everywhere.’

Three witches meet, not on a blasted heath but by a blinking swamp. Rather than concocting their own cauldron stew they sup a gumbo cooked up by a voodoo witch. And instead of prophesying to a would-be monarch they try and thwart another witch’s nefarious plans to gain power by controlling stories.

I like a bit of metafiction, especially metafiction that hides itself in plain sight. Witches Abroad is a novel that plays with the relationship between stories and being human, even if the author’s humans are denizens of the Discworld; and while spinning a yarn about individuals who want to manipulate narrative tropes for personal gain Pratchett’s well aware that he’s doing the very same himself.

This is a story about stories. Or what it really means to be a fairy godmother. But it’s also, particularly, about reflections and mirrors.

And now to the story.

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