by Cornelia Funke
Translated from the German by Anthea Bell
“Books have to be heavy because the whole worlds inside them.”
This single sentence does tell you a lot, does it not?
To all men and women who truly love books, this series would definitely make a lot of sense. After all, which one of us would not love to see their favourite characters come to life…
However, when you do come face to face with them, would you really love them as much as you would have expected? That is what this book explores…
It is worth mentioning that this is the first, and perhaps the only, book in this segment that was not written in English. And, despite not having read it in the original German, I can say that the translation, by Anthea Bell, is truly exceptional.
Aimed more towards younger readers, this book is one of so many that I read when I was the perfect age, which is probably why it had the impact that it did.
Filled with wonderful, well-rounded characters, led by the man with the silver tongue, Mo, and his young daughter, this book revolves around two main themes: love for books, and devotion towards family.
One could complain that the story does take while to get going, but once it does, it is impossible to put down. And when that happens with a 534-page long book, you know you are in for a lovely weekend.
While reading, this book seems surprisingly simple and lucid, so much so that you are almost lulled into a sense of complacency, and do not seem to realise the sort of impact it can have… In my sister’s case, this impact exhibited itself in the form of some fairly vivid nightmare… And, mind you, she was about 20 when she read it… Actually, this is probably another book that she did not complete…
Another rare aspect of this book is that it features a little epigraph at the beginning of the chapter, with sources varying from Eva Ibbotson and Roald Dahl to C.S. Lewis and R.L. Stevenson, writers that have defined the childhoods of millions of readers around the world. It just highlights the extent of the writer’s love for books in general, and this genre in particular…
However, despite the obvious tilt towards a young audience, the story does not compromise on intensity and darkness. In fact, the darkness continues to build as the story progresses, and further as the series progresses. The final part is definitely geared more towards young adults, than towards kids.
And, as usual, the movie based on it does hardly anything more than scratch the surface. Funke, though, did believe Brendan Fraser’s was the voice that would bring Mo to life. Paul Bettany was, at least in my opinion, a terrible choice for my Dustfinger, favourite fictional character of all.
Now, to whom would I recommend this book? Pretty much anyone who really loves books, and/or has an inclination towards fantasy, is certain to love this series.
You can find it here:
Well, that is all for today.