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22 April 2015 @ 10:00 pm
A Slip of the Keyboard by Terry Pratchett  
sophievdennis gave me A Slip of the Keyboard, a collection of Pratchett's non-fiction writing, as a birthday present. I was, inevitably, about half way through it when news of his death was announced. It's a collection of short pieces, mostly written either as speeches or for newspaper columns. As a result many are quite slight and, in volume, they can become repetitive as he revives a turn of phrase, or makes the same point a second (third, or fourth) time for a different audience. Still, there is a lot here of interest. They are grouped together more or less thematically, starting out with pieces about writing and meandering through his experiences on book-signing tours, his championship of fantasy writing and some more biographical pieces until the final section documents his diagnosis of Alzheimer's and his championship of the right to an assisted death. I think I most enjoyed his advice to book stores on how to host a signing, though his convention speeches were entertaining as well. Sadly I think the last section is the weakest, possibly because he was no longer at the top of his game, but equally possibly because, for a change, he was seeking to be serious about something serious and that was somewhat out of his metier. The arguments lack breadth, particularly in regard to the state of the NHS and its causes, and a betray a somewhat rose-tinted confidence in the wisdom, stubbornness and clear-sightedness of the elderly.

When all is said and done though, he was very clear that he wished to die in his garden, listening to Thomas Tallis. I gather he died at home, with the cat on his feet. I hope that Tallis was playing.

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/153326.html.