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Hogfather (Discworld) Mass Market Paperback – September 8, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 251 customer reviews
Book 20 of 40 in the Discworld Series

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Mass Market Paperback, September 8, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What could more genuinely embody the spirit of Christmas (or Hogswatch, on the Discworld) than a Terry Pratchett book about the holiday season? Every secular Christmas tradition is included. But as this is the 21st Discworld novel, there are some unusual twists.

This year the Auditors, who want people to stop believing in things that aren't real, have hired an assassin to eliminate the Hogfather. (You know him: red robe, white beard, says, "Ho, ho, ho!") Their evil plot will destroy the Discworld unless someone covers for him. So someone does. Well, at least Death tries. He wears the costume and rides the sleigh drawn by four jolly pigs: Gouger, Tusker, Rooter, and Snouter. He even comes down chimneys. But as fans of other Pratchett stories about Death (Mort, Reaper Man, and Soul Music) know, he takes things literally. He gives children whatever they wish for and appears in person at Crumley's in The Maul.

Fans will welcome back Susan, Death of Rats (the Grim Squeaker), Albert, and the wizardly faculty of Unseen University, and revel in new personalities like Bilious, the "oh god of Hangovers." But you needn't have read Pratchett before to laugh uproariously and think seriously about the meanings of Christmas. --Nona Vero --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

The master of humorous fantasy delivers one of his strongest, most conventional books yet. Discworld's equivalent of Santa Claus, the Hogfather (who flies in a sleigh drawn by four gigantic pigs), has been spirited away by a repulsive assassin, Mr. Teatime, acting on behalf of the Auditors who rule the universe and who would prefer that it exhibited no life. Since faith is essential to life, destroying belief in the Hogfather would be a major blow to humanity. It falls to a marvelously depicted Death and his granddaughter Susan to solve the mystery of the disappeared Hogfather, and meanwhile to fill in for him. On the way to the pair's victory, readers encounter children both naughty and nice; gourmet banquets made of old boots and mud; lesser and greater criminals; an overworked and undertrained tooth fairy named Violet; and Bilious, the god of hangovers, among other imaginative concepts. The tone of much of the book is darker than usual for Pratchett?for whom "humorous" has never been synonymous with "silly"?and his satire, too, is more edged than usual. (One scene deftly skewers the Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas.") Pratchett has now moved beyond the limits of humorous fantasy, and should be recognized as one of the more significant contemporary English-language satirists. U.K. rights: Victor Gollanz, The Cassell Group; trans., first serial, dramatic, audio rights: Ralph Vicinanza.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Discworld (Book 20)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Rei Rep edition (September 8, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061059056
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061059056
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #713,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lonya VINE VOICE on May 30, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
when all through the planet
Not a creature was stirring, except Susan Sto-Helit

Terry Pratchett's Discworld series has been marked by a series of hilarious (and thoughtful) parodies of life on our own planet. Pratchett takes a look at our own practices and customs and then filters them through the prism of a parallel universe known as Discworld. He has done this to great effect with the newspaper business (The Truth), Hollywood (Moving Pictures), rock and roll (Soul Music), and religion (Small Gods). The hilarious differences between the `real' and Discworld versions always provide the reader with hours of amusement and insight. Pratchett's treatment of the Santa Claus legend in Hogfather is no different.

Hogfather, Discworld's Santa is missing. He has been kidnapped by Teatime one of the most vicious villains created by Pratchett. Generally, the `bad guys' in Discworld have a number of amusing or redeeming qualities that help the reader see them as quirky, if bad. Teatime has no redeeming qualities. To that extent he seemed more similar to the villains of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere (Croup and Vandemaar) than to the lovable rogues from the Guild of Assassins.

Well, DEATH comes to the rescue and decides to take on Hogfather's role as gift giver on Hogswatch Night, Discworld's Christmas. DEATH is accompanied on this task by the ever faithful and ever grumbling Albert. The passages in which Pratchett has DEATH making his rounds led by his team of boars shouting "on Tusker, on Snooter, on Gouger and Router" were hilarious.

Susan Sto-Helit, DEATH's granddaughter, was not at all pleased by this development.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Hogfather" is the first Terry Pratchett book that I read, based on a strong and enthusiastic recommendation. I am sorry I did not discover Pratchett earlier. His writing is filled with laugh-out-loud moments and peppered with sharp insights into the ways humans function. He has created a marvelously warped, but awfully familiar universe with his Discworld. "Hogfather" is largely a satire about Christmas and the way that we celebrate it; but it is more importantly about the beliefs that shape who we are and the strength those beliefs have over us.

The basis for "Hogfather" is that the Hogfather has been "killed" and Death must take over the reins in order to ensure that the sun will rise the next morning, as well as to try to bring back the Hogfather. As he crisscrosses the world on Hogswatch Eve, he is startled by the lack of belief that he encounters in his interactions with humans. Surely something is wrong in the universe if humans don't belief in the Hogfather and it is Death's task, along with others, to try to set things right.

The novel includes a wide cast of characters who are believable and add to the rich tapestry of Pratchett's yarn. We are allowed to see the story from various vantage points as we discover what is the cause behind this lack of belief. We laugh out loud at the escapades of the Oh-God of Hangovers and the other various 'gods' who have strangely gained entrance into Discworld. Yet the best storyline involves Susan Sto-

Helit; as Death's grand-daughter, she would like nothing more than to live a normal life as a governess, but inevitably finds herself wrapped up in the plot to save the Hogfather and restore order to Discworld.

Pratchett is a highly entertaining author. He balances the wit and humor of his story with sharp (and sometimes biting) observations about life. I look forward to more trips into Discworld.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Hogfather, the twentieth Discworld adventure written by Terry Pratchett, is a wonderful tale about the power of belief and what it can bring to humanity. I found myself laughing out loud constantly while reading this book, which is always a good sign, and definitely a step up from Sourcery. It was very pleasurable to be enjoying Pratchett again. It was also very nice to have a good Death book again, after the small bump that was Soul Music
Can anybody not like the idea of a skeletal Death, all decked out in a red and white costume with false beard and false belly, trying to go down chimneys and bring presents to all the good little boys and girls of the world? The idea itself is enough to get me laughing, but Pratchett's implementation of it has to be seen to be believed. Pratchett pulls out all the stops in this one, with laughs as simple as Death trying to figure out how to open a door to let Albert into the house, and as complicated as philosophical discussions about human belief and how it orders the universe (in a way that the Auditors don't like, of course). Death continues to marvel at the ability of humanity to "be untruthful" by "telling the universe it is other than it is." This powerful belief creates beings like the Hogfather, the Tooth Fairy, the Boogeyman (the original!), that sort of thing. That's what makes Death such a wonderful character: his ability to learn, to adapt, and to see both the strengths and weaknesses of humanity, as well as his fascination with how humans do things.
Susan, his granddaughter, just wants to be normal again. It's been two years since Soul Music, and she doesn't want to go back to that life. But while Death can take the Hogfather's place, he can't physically intervene in the events that are occuring, so Susan must.
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