Recently I rediscovered the works of Michael Ende. In my opinion he was one of the best German authors of children’s books of all time.
I’ve always been in love with his »Der Satanarcholügenialkohöllsiche Wunschpunsch« (»The Satanarchaeolidealcohellish Notion Potion«), there is a really good audiobook (and a – of course – really BAD animated tv-series) of this work, produced in the 90s – read by the maestro himself – that shows what a great reader he is. I own it on casette and I don’t know how many times I’ve listened to it but I can quote almost the whole thing.
I had the opportunity to watch the screen adaption of »Momo« on the big screen once and I really enjoyed it. I am listening to its audiobook these days and it is really astonishing to see how this modern »fairy tale« deals with subjects I’ve been bothering myself with recently, such as: Is work/success really the center of my life? Am I doing the right thing with the time I got? How do I want to spend my life? Ende has a great way of dealing with these essential questions, creating lovely characters and telling unique, universal stories with them.
Another of these »Strange how life goes in circles all the time«-thing happened when doing some research on Michael Ende: I was really happy to read that he was fascinated by Japanese culture because – as some may have noticed – I am too. He seems to have translated some stories by Kenji Miyazawa (known best for his »Night of the Milky Way Railway«) into German with his Japanese translater and second wife Mariko Satō. And guess what: I really have a favour Miyazawa too. Don’t know if they published the stories they translated though because there is only one book with Miyazawa-stories available in Germany, I think (»Die Früchte des Ginkgo «) and that has been translated by someone else. Still pretty cool ^__^
What most people don’t know – I suppose – is that he has written some really wonderful stories for grown-ups (or rather stories ONLY for grown-ups because just like the films of Hayao Miyazaki / Studio Ghibli ALL of his stories should be read by adults) like »Der Spiegel im Spiegel« (»Mirror in the Mirror«), a collection of really weird short stories.
And don’t forget to get your eyes on the wondeful illustrated »Der Lindwurm und der Schmetterling« (beware of the new – pretty bad – version with illustrations by the same artist, Wilfried Hiller) one of my other favourites.