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Wednesday, May 19, 2004
The Neverending Story 

Title: The Neverending Story
Author: Michael Ende,
translated by Ralph Manheim
I don't really get opportunities to read nowadays, so calling in sick for two days because of a bad flu could be called a blessing in disguise. The movie is very much a part of my childhood memory, and when I found the book at the MPH warehouse sale, going for a mere RM10, I just had to get it.

One of the coolest thing about this book is how each of the twenty-six chapters (excluding the prologue) starts with a letter of the alphabet. Oh you know the story already, really, it's almost Alice in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass, The Tenth Kingdom... You've read or seen it before, about that bored little boy from broken family who walks into an old curiosity shop, picks up strange looking book, starts to read the book and gets swept up into the story. It's that old, recycled, used-too-often theme that fortunately doesn't go wrong at all here.

Years and years ago I watched The Neverending Story for the first time at my neighbour's. I loved the name Atreyu so much that I used to go to bed hoping to wake up in Atreyu's arms. I loved the luckdragon Falkor, in the movie they made him look like a humongous white dog with a pearly pink and white scaled dragon's body, and I can still envisage the pretty little girl who played the Childlike Empress in the movie.

All these visions of the late Jonathan Brandis trying to save Fantastica in the second part of the movie helped me create more images to match the speed at which Ende has woven his plot. There are potholes here and there, of course,my memory is ailing you see, the show was so long ago... but the novel itself more than makes up for all these loose ends. The nature of the story guides the human imagination, so visualizing the sceneries in Fantastica comes easily.

You learn a great deal about rekindling that childhood lightheartedness, a whole load of moral values and how to 'live it right', so to speak. Ende's novel is a definite masterpiece, and Manheim's translation is amazingly native... you hardly realise the whole book was originally written in German.

minishorts  # 5:49 PM
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