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Optimus Yarnspinner, a young Zamonian writer, inherits very little from his beloved godfather apart from an unpublished short story by an unknown author. This manuscript proves to be such a superb piece of writing that he can't resist the temptation to investigate the mystery surrounding the author's identity. The trail takes him to the City of Dreaming Books. After falling under the spell of this book-obsessed metropolis; Yarnspinner also falls into the clutches of its evil genius, Pfistomel Smyke, who treacherously maroons him in the city's labyrinthine catacombs. He finds himself in a subterranean world where reading books can be genuinely dangerous, where ruthless Bookhunters fight to the death for literary gems and the mysterious Shadow King rules a murky realm populated by Booklings, one-eyed beings whose vast library includes live books equipped with teeth and claws. Walter Moers transports us to a magical world where reading is still a genuine adventure, where books can not only entertain people but also drive them insane or even kill them. Only those intrepid souls who are prepared to join Optimus Yarnspinner on his perilous journey should read this book. We wish the rest of you a long, safe, unutterably dull and boring life!

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099490579
ISBN-10: 0099490579
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 154mm x 34mm)
Pages: 464
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 1-Mar-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » Sure, Larry McMurtry's got his own book town in Texas, and then there's Sedbergh and Hay-on-Wye over England way. But none of them can compare to the setting of Moers's (Rumo and His Miraculous Adventures, 2006, etc.) semifabulous tale of treasures hidden.Those with no patience for the syrupy, who eschew easy puns, who upchuck when Paolo Coelho's name comes up, are warned forthwith. German novelist Moers puts Tolkien through some sort of Willy Wonka sweetening process and comes up with characters such as Optimus Yarnspinner, who, names being fate and all, just has to be a storyteller, a gloriously esteemed trade over in the magical land of Zamonia. Op's pop's pal, Uncle Dancelot, is "more of a connoisseur of literature than an originator thereof," even though he's gone out to lunch for decades on the strength of his sole book, The Joys of Gardening. Dancelot has discovered the most wonderful manuscript in all the land and has gone all Svengali-like (or maybe Entrekin-esque) over the prospects of bringing its glories to the world. But then, zounds, old Dancelot takes a dirt nap and Optimus is left with the manuscript, which puts him in "a state of feverish exuberance after only a few paragraphs." What's an entrepreneur to do? Well, head for Bookholm, where booksellers and publishers abound, the former peddling books that are "neither truly alive nor truly dead but located in an intermediate limbo akin to sleep." In this altogether bookish and symbolism-choked place, Optimus learns valuable lessons, such as how to keep clear of big bad Pfistomel Smyke and the voracious Bookhunters while absorbing useful lessons in literature and life from the likes of the Homuncolossus, who instructs our young charge that the only reason he hasn't produced publishable work himself is that he's "writing with the wrong paw." Q.E.D."Tonstant Weader fwowed up," wrote Dorothy Parker after reading Winnie the Pooh. She had it easy. For the innocent of heart, unsullied by taste. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Walter Moers

Walter Moers was born in 1957 and is a writer, cartoonist, painter and sculptor. He is the creator of the comic strips The Little Asshole and Adolf and the author of the cult bestseller The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear and A Wild Ride Through The Night. He lives in Hamburg.

Books By Author Walter Moers

Labyrinth of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers

The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books

Paperback, November 2013
Alchemaster's Apprentice by Walter Moers

The Alchemaster's Apprentice

Paperback, October 2010
City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers

The City of Dreaming Books

Paperback / softback, September 2008
Wild Ride Through the Night by Walter Moers

Wild Ride Through the Night

Hardback, August 2008