Going Postal by Terry Pratchett.
Corgi, 2005 (2004).
‘Yes, well, you know what we used to say: you do have to be mad to work here!’ said the Worshipful Master.Chapter Five
The phrase which inspired the title of this novel refers to a distressing period in the US postal service when certain disgruntled postal workers were involved in mass shootings of colleagues and the public: ‘going postal’ meant resorting to extreme violence to express resentment, frustration or mental disturbance, though now it’s casually used as the equivalent of ‘going mad’ in a social situation.
In Pratchett’s hands the phrase becomes a way to focus his anger through critiquing a number of societal ills – the decimation of public services, for example, and corporate greed – while using his trademark humour not only to satirise corruption but also to portray those who might otherwise appear to be social inadequates instead of as individuals worthy of respect and admiration.
But our attention is focused on Moist Von Lipwig, a petty fraudster in his twenties (“I’m Moist!”) who is offered, by Lord Vetinari no less, a chance to redeem himself as the newly appointed Postmaster in Ankh-Morpork. The question we ask ourselves is, will – echoing Herodotus and the inscription on New York’s 1914 Post Office – neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stop him fulfilling his brief?Continue reading “The Unfranked Man”