The Neverending Story – A to Z: N

N is for The Neverending Story, the timeless fantasy story by Michael Ende. It was first published in the original German in 1979 and later translated into over 30 languages. Part of the story (roughly the first half) was turned into a film; Ende actually sued the filmmakers for using the book’s name without adapting all of it, but lost the lawsuit. Two more films were made, but did not follow the book too closely, only using some of its characters and drastically changing story elements. I won’t go into the films here; as an aspiring writer, the book is of much more interest to me.

The Neverending Story - Cover

The Neverending Story – Cover of my German hardback copy (sorry, caught a bit too much flash)

One of the things that makes the book unique is the lengths Ende went to in order to have the book published the way he’d imagined it. I mentioned in my A to Z Challenge post on the topic of chapters the fancy artwork (by Roswitha Quadflieg) at the start of each of the 26 chapters, where an entire page is taken up by the drop cap for each letter in the alphabet from A to Z.

The Neverending Story - Chapter 1

The Neverending Story – Chapter 1 begins with the drop cap “A”

But wait, there’s more! This fantasy story is set in both our “real” world and “Fantastica” (the original German name “Phantásien” sounds much better to me, I don’t know why but can only guess that they couldn’t use “Phantasia” for copyright reasons), and, to emphasise when the story switches from one to the other, they are actually in different colours – red for the “normal” world, and blue-green for the world inside the book which the main character reads and into which he is drawn more and more as the story progresses.

The Neverending Story - Colours

The Neverending Story – Alternating colours help the reader differentiate the two worlds in which the story takes place

There is also fancy scrollwork at the top of each numbered page and there are fancy fonts for chapter titles, including within the chapter body.

The Neverending Story - Before Chapter 1

The Neverending Story – Fancy fonts just before the start of Chapter 1

At the very beginning of the prologue, there is a mirror image of the inscription of the glass door of the antiquity store in which the story begins.

The Neverending Story - Beginning

The Neverending Story – Beginning of the prologue with mirrored writing

In short, the book itself, even ignoring the content, is a minor work of art. The story was written with children in mind (although Ende complained that he was being pidgeon-holed as a “children’s book author” while many other books received less attention), but also contains many lessons for adults. Another one I’ve added to my growing “must re-read pile”.

About Amos M. Carpenter

Web dev by day, author by night, and generally interested in (and opinionated about) way too many things.

Posted on 16 April, 2014, in A to Z Challenge Part II, Books, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I have never read this story, but that book is beautiful!

    • If you manage to get your hands on a good copy (in this case it’s really worth having a proper hardback, I think), it’s absolutely worth the read. I know my post focussed mainly on the exterior and the presentation, but the interior is every bit as worth it.

  2. I feel so silly. I had no idea it was a book. To-read, for sure!

  3. Neverending Story is now on my TBR list. Thanks.

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