My children are currently listening to a never ending audiobook of this all time children s favourite of mine, and I find myself secretly spying on them, listening to bits and pieces of the story, always knowing exactly where they are at the moment, after so many rereadings I still dream of finding a bookstore like the one where Bastian Balthasar Bux found The Neverending Story I don t think I ever pass an antique shop without thinking of this book for at least a fraction of a second, it is so deeply engraved in my heart and mind Who has never dreamt of being a castaway in the school attic, with some food, some light, and a book that literally soaks you in I still hear the loud cry when Bastian thinks he sees himself in the mirror that Atreju stares into And I still hear him yell the name of the Empress Mondenkind , in German, probably Moonchild in English, in order to save that beautiful fantasy world from the big, dark nothing that is eating it as a result of children losing interest in storytelling.I read the book in German as a child and saw the movie later and I was always annoyed by the fact that it ends halfway through Bastian s adventures and his slow path to wisdom haven t even started yet at the end of the movie Therefore I read it aloud to my children before letting them watch the movie, and I discovered so many layers in it that had escaped me as a child, and I enjoyed it evenEspecially Bastian s interpretation of the Auryn inscription Tu was du willst , in German Do what you want to do has been helpful to me ever since Bastian painfully learns the hard way that it is not about spontaneously following your own whims, but about reflecting on what your true wishes are That makes total sense to me, and I try to consult my invisible Auryn medallion whenever I have to make important decisions Now that my children are embarking on their second reading hearing of the story, they start talking about how the plot changes in their minds as they develop amature taste in literature I find that incredibly valuable, and here I am myself, revisiting this childhood love again, and finding pleasure in writing about it.Apart from Astrid Lindgren, Michael Ende must be my favourite children s book author, and I like him just as much now as when I was little and dreamt of being locked into the school attic with a book that never ends and that has a place for me and the stories I want to tell myself , The first and still most luminous story that urged me to stop running away from my life into books and start weaving books back into my life If this sounds too abstract, consider the Human Library a child of The Neverending Story, a sister of Moonchild.This book made me polish my German enough to read it in the original And make notes of important mistakes in the Bulgarian translation It made me itch to create a MUSH, where no two lands of Fantastica ever stay in the same place so good luck with making your way from point A to point B D , and the Temple of a Thousand Doors prods you to ponder, Who am I , and you get to help Atreyu with completing at least a few of those stories started by Bastian, and you meet others, others like you, like me, like us.It made me look for my truest wish the one that doesn t go away and doesn t throw the past away unless it s truly time to let go and move on.It made me who I am along with A Requiem for Homo Sapiens and The Last Unicornthan any other book.And for theacademic types among you it epitomizes a host of ideas distilled in The Encyclopedia of Fantasy ,16.01.2016, , , The Encylcopedia of Fantasy. This Epic Work Of The Imagination Has Captured The Hearts Of Millions Of Readers Worldwide Since It Was First Published Than A Decade Ago Its Special Story Within A Story Is An Irresistible Invitation For Readers To Become Part Of The Book Itself And Now This Modern Classic And Bibliophile S Dream Is Available In Hardcover AgainThe Story Begins With A Lonely Boy Named Bastian And The Strange Book That Draws Him Into The Beautiful But Doomed World Of Fantastica Only A Human Can Save This Enchanted Place By Giving Its Ruler, The Childlike Empress, A New Name But The Journey To Her Tower Leads Through Lands Of Dragons, Giants, Monsters, And Magic And Once Bastian Begins His Quest, He May Never Return As He Is Drawn Deeper Into Fantastica, He Must Find The Courage To Face Unspeakable Foes And The Mysteries Of His Own Heart Readers, Too, Can Travel To The Wondrous, Unforgettable World Of Fantastica If They Will Just Turn The Page Front Flap Read this to my daughter recently A very mixed bag.First off I should say that although the book was written in 1979 it reads as though it were written in 1939 The translator has consistently reached for the most complicated high falutin word available and as a result the child s book ends up unreadable incomprehensible to many modern kids I m not one for dumbing down, but this goes the other way pointlessly.I saw the film around the time it came out years ago The book seems to reach the end of the film by about half way through That first half is cleverly done with a good idea about binding the reader and the adventure together in a meta way that works out really well The pacing is ok, the imagination great chaotic, but good.For me Ende should have stopped there and wrapped it up.The second half of the book feels never ending It s a slow, overdone, meander through a fairly arbitrary world and the 8 year old I was reading it to we finished the book on her 9th birthday was, like me, less than gripped We soldiered on and on and on.Eventually the massively drawn out moral lesson reconstruction of our hero s personality completes and the final scenes of reunion are quite touching and uplifting.So the first half was a 4 for me, the second half a 2.Join my 3 emails a year newsletter prizes.. I loved most of what I read, yet I m stopping on page 352 I just can t continue And you know, I m not entirely sure why I can t continue I just know that I can t But I have a theory.Having loved the movie version of this in my youth, the whole story is etched into the part of my psyche that deals with childhood that time when so much is new where much in the world is observed through an inner wonder of the mind and a stirring of the soul a magical state, by adult standards Freud may have been a kook with some of his beliefs, but psychologists today with all their studies and time tested proofs, and technology measuring brainwaves, chemicals, etc, now heavily emphasize the impact our childhood has on our adult self And self is everything.Much of what I read captured me, putting me in a state in which I was accessing stirred up feelings through a strange inner memory that I m incapable of generating even partly on my own, without help, as an adult The inability to directly replicate the magical feelings that used to be a normal part of our existence as children, yet somehow being aware of them in some odd way now is, in part, I think, why our childhood has the power to affect us so greatly Even though past thought processes can t be fully realized, our greater psyche has a keen memory of them it knows exactly what once existed And sometimes we can reinvigorate hints of what we felt during parts of youth through songs, pictures, books, and movies and if it s something that was specifically wonderful to us as children, all themagical and powerful our hint of feeling now will be, if triggered properly.I hadn t seen the movie in many years not since youth, in fact So reading this swept me into that childlike place of consciousness where everything is awash in wonder Each piece of familiarity was somewhat cognizant, yes I knew I had experienced these scenes before through the movie but the feelings they evoked were wonderfully vague and surreal awakening, reminding some part of my inner self how the world seemed when newness and innocence ruled the day an encompassing sense of past magic.The movie version is completed at the book s halfway point, so it shouldn t have been a surprise that that was when my captivation vanished The book is very well written, and fantasy fans are sure to completely dig it it s a smart, engaging book with important themes But its strong pull left me, and I was unable to continue in the same state of enthrallment and wonderment Just like now, as an adult, I can never truly feel like a complete child again I can only hope to get dashes of that former self, and can only do so in rare circumstances.But when I am gifted such magic, I will gladly take it and realize it for the priceless treasure that it surely is. Like many people of my generation, I loved the film adaptation the first, not the second, thank you and never realized that it had come from a book until a number of years later In fact, I read it the first time in 07 and not only was I delighted at how imaginative it was, I was flabbergasted joyfully so that it lived up to its name.It s quick reading, by any standard, but so deliciously dense in imagery, mythology, and an engrossing plot that I swore that if I had any children, this would be a staple of their diet.Now that I have a little girl, I m just too anxious to start reading it to her I really can t sit still I keep picking up the book and going, Is she old enough, yet Is she Is she Then I set down the book and tear out my metaphorical hair and let out a forlorn cry Then I get a fantastic idea I could just read it again, for myself Then everything is right with the world again and I m able to write a new review This is easily one of my favorite tales, ever.An extra goodie April had a great review that forced me to think and respond in I hope a comprehensible way Check it out April s Review The Nothing is devouring Fantastica bit by bit and The Childlike Empress tasks Atreyu with stopping it Meanwhile, holed up in his school s attic, Bastian Balthazar Bux reads a purlorned book and soon finds himself pulled into The Neverending Story Not too long ago, I bought my wife tickets to see the rerelease of The Dark Crystal in the theater and we got to talking about fantasy movies from the 1980s, which lead to rewatching The Neverending Story Days after that, I found this book in the used bookstore I always go to and decided to give it a read.If you ve ever seen the movie, the first 45% of the book is 99% of the movie, with the standard book to movie tweaks, expunged parts, etc Fantastica was changed to Fantasia for the movie Some of the creatures look different Atreyu is green, Falkor lookslike a lion than a dog, and so on Entire scenes are omitted and dialogue is shuffled around to other characters to make up the difference I kept telling my wife Most of the movie has happened What the hell is going to be in the second half Well, the ending of the movie provides the hint Once Bastian saves Fantastica, it s his responsibility to help rebuild it Shit starts sliding downhill immediately after Without going into it too much, absolute power corrupts absolutely and Bastian does what a lot of insecure people would do with godlike powers abuses the shit out of it and becomes a raging dickhead We all should have seen it coming He stole a book in the first chapter A book He goes from being a relateable bookworm to an A 1 shitheel After a bloody battle at the Ivory Tower, I wondered if Bastian could ever be redeemed.Sure enough, he could The last 80 pages were about Bastian seeing the error of his ways and using what little wishes he had left to leave Fantastica and generally grow the fuck up The reunion with his father was pretty sweet and his conversation with Coreander puts a bow on everything.Now that I ve had time to digest thing, the book seems to partly be about coping with loss Bastian and his father coping with his mother s death, and later, Bastian coping with losing everything the Childlike Empress gave him It s also about taking responsibility for your actions and not being a chickenshit all the time Bastian Balthazar Bux at the end of the book is almost totally different from the one at the beginning.I wound up enjoying the book quite a bit but, like Falkor s depiction, the movie and the book are totally different animals The movie captured the adventurous bits without all the morals in the second half Michael Ende definitely crafted something special here I wonder how much was lost in translation, though I had my doubts about the second half but it was all worth it in the end, if a little sappy Four out of five stars. I read this every year This time I m doing an audio version I absolutely adore this novel, and shared it with every class I taught I ll never forget the students who acted out the swamps of sadness in the middle of a walk through river mud sucking off our shoes That s really what the gift of this book is the breath of imagination This will be a perfect purchase for my nieces.2017 Reading Challenge story within a storyAudio reread 86 20 18 audio read 73The beginning scene in the bookstore with the narrator s list of If you ve nevers is something that touches both the child inside me and the reader in me that will never die.12 20 18 holiday reread I know it s a little early for my annual reread since I just read it in June, but I really need a pick me up This never fails.Audiobook 258 Although I have read this bookthan twenty times, I have, until now, never actually written a longer andinvolved review for Michael Ende s utterly amazing The Neverending Story I have also never read it in English I first read it in German in the early 80s, I believe, and I have reread it regularly over the years Die unendliche Geschichte is thus truly one of my all time favourite German children s literature books I love adore everything about this novel, including the ingenious way the chapters are arranged, as well as the different colour fonts red for reality, blue for Fantastica, or Phant sien in German For me, the different fonts are not only an ingenious plot and narrative device, they also represent the separation of fantasy and reality However, the fantastical first letters of each of the 26 chapters, representing the 26 letters of the alphabet, are all at least in my own copy of the book presented in the same reddish font as the parts of the story that take place in the real world even for those chapters based wholly and entirely in Fantastica this shows on a visual level that while fantasy and reality might be separate spheres and different from one another, they are nevertheless forever linked.I remember when we were reading this very novel in the Children s Literature Groupthan a few years ago , one of my GR friends Kirei asked if the story actually ever did end And I have to admit that when I first read Die unendliche Geschichte as a teenager, I kept searching for other novels by the Michael Ende about Fantastica, as he was always hinting at precisely that eventuality but that is another story , until I finally realised that this was just a plot device At first, this bothered me a bit I actually felt a wee bit cheated But then, I realised how ingenious this particular plot device was and is It solidifies Michael Ende s belief that every book is a neverending story, and that books engender other stories and so on and so on Further, for a reader who might become somewhat nervous and apprehensive when reading exciting or frightening tales, the fact that the author claims that there will befuture tales of Fantastica, gives a comforting but spoiler less reassurance that Fantastica will survive, that the nothing the emptiness will not succeed in utterly destroying fantasy and the realms of the fantastical.In the first part of Die unendliche Geschichte, the main emphasis seems to be mostly on the absolute importance and necessity of fantasy and imagination and how the lack thereof is detrimental to not only the realms of Fantastica, but also to the real world to reality While the story is never openly didactic, it does possess an obvious message against pure materialism and the disallowance and discrediting of fantasy and imagination The childlike empress will succumb to her illness and with her all of Fantastica, unless a human being can enter Fantastica and give the empress a new name humans used to regularly find their way to the realms of fantasy, but they are seemingly losing this ability, or are perhaps unwilling or afraid to make use of it And while Bastian does, in fact, possess said fantasy and imagination, he is also at first too unsure of himself to give the empress the name he has created for her moon child Indeed, the empress must resort to trickery and subterfuge in order to persuade Bastian to finally utter her name, to stop the nothing and to himself become part of the world of Fantastica, to enter into the latter s realm.In the second part of the story, Bastian is then given the opportunity and the task to use the power of his own imagination his own wishes and desires to reconstruct Fantastica At first, it seems that there are no limits imposed in fact, the empress actually tells Bastian that he should do what he wishes, what he wants There are essential internal limits though, namely that Bastian s main responsibility, his main goal is to find the nature of his one true his dearest desire which is something that Bastian only learns slowly, bit by bit And it rapidly becomes apparent that Bastian s desires to be strong and courageous, of wanting to change his outward appearance are not only not his actual, true wishes, they portray that Bastian, at this time, only uses imagination and fantasy as an escape from a world from a reality that he does not like very much, a world where he can neither love nor be and feel loved Bastian thus does not truly reconstruct Fantastica by creating new realms of fantasy, he uses these mostly to escape from both reality and his own personality In fact, Bastian actually becomes majorly dictatorial, even attempting to usurp power from the childlike empress Luckily for him, this proves unsuccessful, and faced with the loss of his memories, Bastian finally realises that his dearest wish is to love himself, to be able to love, that without love, there truly is absolutely nothing.Die unendliche Geschichte The Neverending Story therefore demonstrates and demonstrates this clearly and shiningly how the interaction and interplay of fantasy and reality, of Fantastica and humanity only succeeds if one strives to use fantasy and imagination to improve reality, and that because Bastian is unable to love either the world or himself, he uses fantasy not to improve reality, but to escape from it to even destroy it perhaps This fault, this main problematic issue causes Bastian to almost become permanently stranded in Fantastica, which might at first not seem such a bad result, except that, becoming stranded in Fantastica also means losing one s memories, losing one s soul and sanity In the end, it is almost too late for Bastian, and basically, even though he has realised what his greatest desire is love , it is only Atreju s friendship which allows Bastian to regain all of his memories and be allowed to return with new vigour and with enlightenment to the real world Atreju takes over the responsibility of finishing all of the stories that had been started by Bastian, and it is this which liberates Bastian, allowing his return to reality and to sanity and memory.With Bastian s return, we also notice that Bastian has not only learned how to love, and also allowed his father to love again, he has also learned to take responsibility for his actions Bastian himself goes to Mr Coreander to tell him about taking the book, he does not rely on his father to do this although his father does indeed offer Thus the main point of Die unendliche Geschichte, at least for me personally , is and always will be that imagination and fantasy are essential for life and happiness, but that they must also not be used as an escape mechanism, as a bandaid type of solution they should, they must be utilised in a responsible, moderate, temperate manner They are to be used as a tool, an enjoyable tool, but a tool nevertheless, as a method of allowing fantasy and reality to exist together in friendship and harmony And as such, Michael Ende s The Neverending Story also harkens back very strongly and stridently to the German Enlightenment, to the era of the Aufkl riung, where part of the main thematics was a striving for moderation, for the middle road, for a combination of reality and fantasy, with reality being enhanced with and by fantasy and fantasy being tempered with and by reality and realism Michael Ende is therefore both an acolyte and a shining mirror image of one of my favourite German Enlightenment authors, Christoph Martin Wieland, whose work always strives for a combination of fantasy and reality, for moderation and a rejection of any form of extremism, including idealism everything must be moderate and centrist. Die Unendliche Geschichte The never ending story, Michael Ende The Neverending Story is a fantasy novel by German writer Michael Ende, first published in 1979 An English translation, by Ralph Manheim, was first published in 1983 The novel was later adapted into several films The book centers on a boy, Bastian Balthazar Bux, a overweight and strange child who is neglected by his father after the death of Bastian s mother While escaping from some bullies, Bastian bursts into the antiquarian book store of Carl Conrad Coreander, where he finds his interest held by a book called The Neverending Story Unable to resist, he steals the book and hides in his school s attic, where he begins to read 2009 1368 603 1385 578 9789645571304 20 1979