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Probably most of you know Die unendliche Geschichte (The Neverending Story) by Michael Ende. The Fantasy Novel centers on Bastian Balthasar Bux (Bastian Balthazar Bux) who helps boy warrior Atréju (Atreyu) to save the land Phantásien (Fantastica) from the Nichts (Nothing), which is about to destroy Fantastica and which might break the health of the Chidlike Empress, too. Atreyu, again, is supported by Fuchur, dem Glücksdrachen (Falkor, the luckdragon) at his adventures.
The novel was written by German writer Michael Ende, and it was first published in German in 1979. The English edition is available since 1983. Altogether, the book has been translated into about 40 languages and was sold about 10 million times.
In 1984, the book was filmed and directed by Wolfgang Petersen, starring Barret Oliver (Bastian Balthazar Bux) and Noah Hathaway (Atreyu). By now, there are four episodes of the film, starring, among others, Jonathan Brandis, Kenny Morrison, and Jason James Richter. Personally, I think that the first episode is the best.
Michael Ende was born 12 November 1921 in Garmisch, Bavaria. He began writing in 1943, mainly poems and short stories. But he always dreamed of writing plays. He could not afford an academic career. Therefore, he decided for a practical training and became an actor at the drama school Otto Falckenberg in Munich. He started acting in the town Rendsburg and wrote sketches for cabaret shows as a sideline. While this time, he composed a comedy, which nobody was interested in. He left Rendsburg and moved again to Munich, where he, for the time being, worked as a movie critic for the Bayerischer Rundfunk (Bavarian Broadcast).
In 1956/57, a casual acquaintance asked him to write a story for a picture book, which he did. In 1958 he presented a thick script: Jim Knopf und Lukas der Lokomotivführer (Jim Button and and Luke the Engine Driver). It took about two years to find a publishing house. Finally, the K. Thienemann publishing house published the work in two episodes in 1960 and 1962. Immediately, Michael Ende was awarded with the Deutsche Jugendbuchpreis (German juvenile book price). Sales increased erratically and the publisher had difficulties to produce new editions.
Finally, Michael Ende was financially independent and could apply himself to write plays. But he was criticized to write kid stuff and was alleged escapism. Thus, he and his wife moved to Italy where he broke out in a new direction and wrote the fantasy novel Momo, which was published in 1973 and finally, The Neverending Story.
Do you have one of Ende’s works in your bookshelf?