[TBTB] „The Neverending Story“ by Michael Ende

Feb 12, 2015 | Bücher | 0 Kommentare

TBTB = Throwback Thursday for Books

Remember those books you read before Blogging, or during a time you just weren’t in the mood to write Reviews? Let’s talk about them now.

„The Neverending Story“ by Michael Ende

die-unendliche-geschichte [Da alle deutschen die Unendliche Geschichte wahrscheinlich auswendig vorwärts und rückwärts beten können (und wenn nicht, solltet ihr besser mal üben 😉 ) gibt es den Beitrag nur auf Englisch….]

Bastian looked at the book. ‚I wonder,‘ he said to himself, ‚what’s in a book while it’s closed. Oh, I know it’s full of letters printed on paper, but all the same, something must be happening, because as soon as I open it, there’s a whole story with people I don’t know yet and all kinds of adventures, deeds and battles. And sometimes there are storms at sea, or it takes you to strange cities and countries. All those things are somehow shut in a book. Of course you have to read it to find out. But it’s already there, that’s the funny thing. I just wish I knew how it could be.‘ Suddenly an almost festive mood came over him. He settled himself down, picked up the book, opened it to the first page, and began to read…”

„The Neverending Story“ is actually a book within a book. Bastian finds this book, and spends a whole day skipping classes to just hide in the school’s attic and read. In the book „The Neverending Story“ he reads about  the world of „Fantastica“ [„Phantasien“] which is overrun by a black plague „The Nothing“, which is threatening to make all of Fantastica just disappear.

“The Nothing is spreading,“ groaned the first. „It’s growing and growing, there’s more of it every day, if it’s possible to speak of more nothing. All the others fled from Howling Forest in time, but we didn’t want to leave our home. The Nothing caught us in our sleep and this is what it did to us.“ „Is it very painful?“ Atreyu asked. „No,“ said the second bark troll, the one with the hole in his chest. „You don’t feel a thing. There’s just something missing. And once it gets hold of you, something more is missing every day. Soon there won’t be anything left of us.”

Responsible is the „Childlike Empress“ [„kindliche Kaiserin“], who is sick. Atreyu, a young warrior, sets out to find a cure for her illness, only to discover that a human child is needed, to give the Childike Empress a new name. Then all will be well.

Could it be possible that Bastian is this human child? And why can the characters in the book hear him shout? And why do they know his name?

If you stop to think about it, you’ll have to admit that all the stories in the world consist essentially of twenty-six letters. The letters are always the same, only the arrangement varies. From letters words are formed, from words sentences, from sentences chapters, and from chapters stories.

When I think about the first book I ever read, really read all by myself, curled up on the couch, devouring every word, loving every scene, getting lost in all the places… it’s „The Neverending Story“ that comes to mind. It’s a book full of quotes I still remember by heart. A book with a main character I can still relate to as well as I did when I was little. It’s the book I pick up when I’m stuck in bed with a cold, or when I’m homesick, and even though it’s a sad story, it does make me feel better. It would probably be my „Seelenbuch“ [book that holds my soul] if there ever were such a thing in the real world and not just in Kai Meyers books.

“Once someone dreams a dream, it can’t just drop out of existence. But if the dreamer can’t remember it, what becomes of it? It lives on in Fantastica, deep under earth. There are forgotten dreams stored in many layers. The deeper one digs, the closer they are. All Fantastica rests on a foundation of forgotten dreams.

unendlichegeschichte innenAnd it’s not just the story which makes it so great. I don’t know how the book looks in America, but in Germany it’s always the familiar green and red ink (green for what’s happening in Fantastica, red for what’s happening in Bastians „real world“]. There’s also a wonderful illustration at the beginning of every chapter, the chapters start with the letters A-Z in the right order… it’s basically a book put together for book nerds like you and me.

“If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger–

If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early–

If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless–

If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won’t understand what Bastian did next.”

fuchurp.s. there is a small theme park in Munich (Germany), „Bavaria Filmstadt“ where you can ride on Falkor [„Fuchur“] and they put the sky on the green screen behind you and it’s like you are flying the luck dragon. I was a teenager when I went there with my school, still all of us had a great time and a bit of a melancholy moment when we saw Fuchur and got to touch him.

„Having a luck dragon with you is the only way to go on a quest.“

„The Neverending Story“ is a special book for lots of German children. I’m always interested, how do you English speaking readers feel about German books, or foreign translations in general? Do you stay away from them, or doesn’t it even matter to you where the books are from?

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