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Review of The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers

March 12, 2017

Review of The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers
Translated from the German text by John Brownjohn
Reviewed by Fiza Pathan


This book was a treat! It was so bookish and literary that it became one of the best books about books that I’ve read in my lifetime. This was the first time I picked a book written by Walter Moers, and I am so glad that I did it. The City of Dreaming Books is a creative blend of many genres out of which literary fantasy stands out most beautifully. It is an intellectual book about a place called Bookholm, which probably every book lover would wish to go to and stay there forever as it’s the city dedicated solely to books. Whether it’s the bookish cafes for writers or the antiquarian bookstalls, this city called Bookholm is the place every reader, writer, publisher, bookseller and anyone who loves books will love to be in. When I was reading this amazing piece of literature I was contemplating within myself whether to go on reading, so as not to allow myself to finish such a glorious book. The City of Dreaming Books is erudite literature at its best with a number of indications through its plot and characters that this book speaks about literature, books, and the book selling trade prior to the twenty-first century. Art and literature are the main intellectual themes of this masterpiece of literary vintage fiction which also focuses on writers and the art of writing, but through a mesmerizing plot told by its protagonist: an upcoming writer called ‘Optimus Yarnspinner’ who is a dinosaur and is on a mission to locate the most brilliant writer in Bookholm. The author, Walter Moers, has taken a lot of trouble over this awe-inspiring book in many ways, to make it the classic it is, and yet it is written so fantastically that even preteens and teenagers would also love reading this book, especially the youth who love dystopian novels but who want a change from the regular type of dystopian novels that today’s publishers are churning out into the reading market. It is a bulky book of 454 pages but the author who is himself an artist has illustrated this book so that we can enjoy, especially adults, a picture story book all over again. This book is not meant for a holiday read unless you are spending your holiday in a library, but is a great book to read during school, college or after a long day of work. It is also a recommended read for bookaholics and it is definitely grey matter but without much effort on the part of the reader. Those who have been reading a lot of fiction can uplift themselves by reading this book. The City of Dreaming Books has the power to make a reader emote a lot so if you want to read this ‘unputdownable book’, be ready for the laughs, tears, and giggles that come with this book. I would also like to mention at this point that seeing the issues and global problems we are facing these days, like despotic governments, censorship, destruction of libraries, the dying culture of reading, limitations on freedom of speech and expression, etc., it will be a great idea to read this book to know how to overcome all these problems, and how they affect us as readers, writers, booksellers, publishers, librarians, etc. This book is as relevant today as the morning newspaper outside your doorstep every morning. So if you are interested in cogitating on the repression of our basic human right to free speech and expression, this is the book for you. I loved this book. I devoured it and it has entered my blood stream and invigorated me. An insightful book to read on the crossroads of one’s life: that is Walter Moers’ The City of Dreaming Books.

Copyright ©2017 Fiza Pathan

  1. Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog and commented:
    Check out this review of the book, The City of Dreaming, by Walter Moers via the Insane Owl blog.

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