6.09.2009

If you need a break from reading cook books...


As I went on a short vacation last week, I picked up this book by Walter Moers at the train station. The story revolves around Echo, a cat who can understand and speak the languages of all living things. Echo finds himself on the brink of starvation and signs a contract with the local witchmaster/inquisitor to feed him with the height of culinary delicacies for the next 30 days. However, on the next full moon the witchmaster will be allowed to kill Echo and render his fat for alchemistic purposes...

Like his previous three novels Der Schrecksenmeister is also set in the fantasy universe of Zamonia. Compared to Moers's other books (aside from Rumo, which I haven't read yet) this book has to take third place. But with ├╝ber-strong competitors like City of Dreaming Books and Captain Bluebear that's no shame. The culinary aspect occurs as a pervasive theme in the plot, to make this book interesting for foodies who like their fantasy/escapist literature. With 380 pages it's conveniently short (as Walter Moers's novels go) for a holiday read. The blurb on the back cover makes a comparisson with the works of Joanne Rowling and Cornelia Funke, which might serve as a rough guideline if you want to give this book to young readers. However, I think at least the works of Rowling and Moers (haven't read anything by Cornelia Funke) are quite different. Rowling tells the classic coming-of-age story which draws a good deal of it's appeal and success from the easy identification of the reader with the hero(s).
Moers works remind me of Tales of the Arabian Nights. He likes to tell a story (and a story within a story), invents words and names and plays with them. (just a quick example: within the book the story is not referred to as a novel by Walter Moers, but as a translation of a great novel of an acclaimed poet of Zamonia) I like to think of Walter Moers as Jim Henson (the Muppets puppet master) with a MacBook. ;)

The book is an adaptation of a novel by Gottfried Keller. According to amazon.com the release date for the English edition of The Alchemaster's Apprentice is September 3rd.

3 comments:

Elle said...

What an interesting summer's read. I like the idea of Jim Henson with a Macbook...he was a wildly creative guy and this story sounds pretty wild and creative, too.

Marianne said...

Thanks for the recommendation, I'll have to check it out. Sounds right up my alley!

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Like Elle I'm struck with Henson paired with a MacBook, you just know it would have increased creativity.
This book sounds very creative and I'll want to watch for it. Also recommend it to our younger son.