Summary and book reviews of Going Postal by Terry Pratchett

Going Postal

A Discworld Novel

by Terry Pratchett

Going Postal
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Sep 2004, 320 pages
    Oct 2005, 400 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Set in Pratchett's wonderfully crazed city of Ankh-Morpork, Going Postal hilariously reflects the plight of post offices the world over as they struggle to compete in an era when e-mail has stolen much of the glamour from the postal trade.

Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses -- until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into ... a government job?

By all rights, Moist should have met his maker. Instead, it's Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, who promptly offers him a job as Postmaster. Since his only other option is a nonliving one, Moist accepts the position -- and the hulking golem watchdog who comes along with it, just in case Moist was considering abandoning his responsibilities prematurely.

Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may be a near-impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office building; and with only a few creaky old postmen and one rather unstable, pin-obsessed youth available to deliver it. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him. Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, money-hungry Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical head, Mr. Reacher Gilt.

But it says on the building neither rain nor snow nor glo m of ni t ... Inspiring words (admittedly, some of the bronze letters have been stolen), and for once in his wretched life Moist is going to fight. And if the bold and impossible are what's called for, he'll do it -- in order to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and specially deliver that invaluable commodity that every human being (not to mention troll, dwarf, and, yes, even golem) requires: hope.

The Angel

In which our hero experiences Hope, the greatest gift * The bacon sandwich of regret * Somber reflections on capital punishment from the hangman * Famous last words * Our hero dies * Angels, conversations about * Inadvisability of misplaced offers regarding broomsticks * An unexpected ride  * A world free of honest men * A man on the hop * There is always a choice

They say that the prospect of being hanged in the morning concentrates a man's mind wonderfully; unfortunately, what the mind inevitably concentrates on is that, in the morning, it will be in a body that is going to be hanged.

The man going to be hanged had been named Moist von Lipwig by doting if unwise parents, but he was not going to embarrass the name, insofar as that was still possible, by being hung under it. To the world in general, and particularly on that bit of it known as the death warrant, he was Alfred Spangler.

And he took a more positive approach to the situation and had ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
  • award image


BookBrowse Review


It's been a long time since I laughed as much reading a book as I did reading Going Postal. Actually, to be totally accurate, I didn't read Going Postal, I listened to the excellent 12 hour audio book read by Stephen Briggs. Going Postal is Terry Pratchett's 29th book in the Discworld series but there's absolutely no need to have read anything else in the series to appreciate this wonderful satire of the postal service, corporate corruption, stamp collecting and so much else.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (157 words).

Media Reviews

Booklist - Regina Schroeder

Instead of revisiting old characters, Pratchett again takes on the task of further rounding out his already beautifully imagined Discworld, doing it with his usual blending of good laughs and unexpected depths.

Publishers Weekly

Thanks to the timely subject matter and Pratchett's effervescent wit, this 29th Discworld novel may capture more of the American audience he deserves.

Kirkus Reviews

Pratchett satirizes the modern telecom business in a deeply satisfying comedy about a man sent to a fate worse than death the post office....Sharp-edged humor-and wonderfully executed.

Reader Reviews


Another winner
There is no such thing as a bad book by Terry Pratchett. Every one is a laugh out loud adventure. Going Postal is no exception. I enjoy reading Mr. Pratchett's work tremendously and constantly keep an eye out for anything new. I have read ...   Read More


Well I did it, went out and bought the book and oh my, I could not put it down. Filled with the expected Pratchett wry wit, he has become even more scathingly satirical of modern life is this latest installment of the Discworld series. Introducing ...   Read More

Unlike some people *looks above* I am not so ignorant as to rate a book without actually reading it. So here is what I will do. Tomorrow I will cheerfully purchase this book in total confidence as pratchett has not yet written anything that was not ...   Read More

I only read the excerpt and rated it poor. Maybe if read more it would not seem so weird.

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!


Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked Going Postal, try these:

  • Angelmaker jacket


    by Nick Harkaway

    Published 2012

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    A blistering gangster noir meets howling absurdist comedy as the forces of good square off against the forces of evil, and only an unassuming clockwork repairman and an octogenarian former superspy can save the world from total destruction.

  • Shades of Grey jacket

    Shades of Grey

    by Jasper Fforde

    Published 2011

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    An astonishing, hotly anticipated new novel from the great literary fantasist and creator of Thursday Next, Jasper Fforde: Part social satire, part romance, part revolutionary thriller, Shades of Grey tells of a battle against overwhelming odds.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member

Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
  • Book Jacket: So Say the Fallen
    So Say the Fallen
    by Stuart Neville
    Noir crime fiction – Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett anyone? – is an American invention...
  • Book Jacket: The Mothers
    The Mothers
    by Brit Bennett
    Every now and then the publishing industry gushes about a young author destined to become the next ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Cruel Beautiful World
    by Caroline Leavitt

    A fast moving page-turner about the naiveté of youth and the malignity of power.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    North of Crazy
    by Neltje

    The remarkable life of a woman who carves her own singular path.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.