Jingo: Discworld Novel: 21
1 journaler for this copy...
Shit, has it really been 8 months since I read this? That was enough time to cover 5 more DW novels. I completely neglected my reviews for all of them, and worse, I don't remember what I was going to say...
When the crown prince of Klatch narrowly escapes an assassination attempt while visiting Ankh-Morpork, this stirs up further strife between the two countries already on the brink of war due to an island both claim as their own soil. Commander Vimes and other members of the City Watch set out for Klatch to find the true culprit and prevent a war.
Jingo is an interesting case in that when I first read (well, listened to it), I pretty much hated it. It seemed stock-full of racist clichés and heavy on the politics side, which didn't interest me much back then. That's probably why I thought it was boring.
I later re-listened to it after the "Mark reads DW" project started. That must have been around the time Mark read Sourcery, which apparently means... October 2014. Wow, time does fly. Anyway, I liked it much better that time around. So much better in fact, that it shot from rock bottom in my (then considerably shorter) list of DW books I already knew to at least reasonably near the top.
There are a few things that made me change my mind: One is that this book greatly benefits from a re-read: Seventy-one-hour Ahmed, in particular, seems like a stereotype cut out from cardboard, and it's only in hindsight that you realize that he's been portraying himself in that way on purpose. Likewise, Colon's casual racism becomes much more palatable with the knowledge that he'll... uh, become subtly less racist over the course of the book.
Secondly, the book works better now that I have a broader understanding of DW geography and politics, having seen Lancre and Omnia and Djelibeybi and, yes, Klatch. And finally, I think I gained some political awareness over the intervening years, which made the entire theme more interesting to me than it was to begin with.
When I first "read" the book, I was really confused about the title. "Jingo" as a term meant nothing to me and didn't sound like it was supposed to mean anything in the real world. I figured it was maybe referring to a character or a location or possibly a god, either real or metaphorical, that was in some way relevant to the plot. When at the end of the audio book I still didn't have an explanation, I decided there must have been some subtle reference I missed due to not being used to listening to a story in English. Eventually, I even came up with a false memory that this might have been what the mysterious island was called. (It's not, it's called "Leshp".)
It was only after people in the "Marks Reads" community repeatedly referenced jingoism, things finally clicked and I looked up the term. (Apparently, it means something like "enthusiastic, flag-waving patriot".) Obviously, the theme of the book became a lot clearer as a result.
1. Small Gods
3. Men at Arms
-------- (imaginary line splitting special favourites from "normal" favourites)
5. Guards! Guards!
6. Reaper Man
8. Witches Abroad
9. Wyrd Sisters
10. Soul Music
Next up: The Last Continent