“Unseen Academicals” by Terry Pratchett – football as the magic of the masses

Unseen Academicals

In “Unseen Academicals”, Terry Pratchett lifts the working-class football subculture that I grew up with (when players were as local as their teams, and being Red or Blue depended on your religion and was a religion in its own right) and holds it like a diamond to the light.

As always he weaves wisdom and humour and humanity and a deep understanding of honour and loyalty into an easy to read whole that both brings a smile to the lips and leave you wanting to write down statements because they so precisely define a thought.

The image of the working-class as crabs in a bucket, holding on to those who want to climb out and dooming them to failure, stuck with me. Right or wrong, like much of Terry Pratchett’s work, it is a deeper idea than you might expect from something presented as comic sword and sorcery fantasy.

The plot of “Unseen Academicals”  is not as well brought together as say “Thud” or “Going Postal” but the characters are engaging and there are enough pace and twists and turns to keep you turning the pages eagerly.


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