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Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
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Inkheart (original 2003; edition 2003)

by Cornelia Funke

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11,159404251 (3.93)601
Member:brigneti
Title:Inkheart
Authors:Cornelia Funke
Info:The Chicken House (2003), Hardcover, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fantasy, young adult, series, german, books

Work details

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (2003)

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» See also 601 mentions

English (376)  Dutch (8)  German (8)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (1)  Russian (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (405)
Showing 1-5 of 376 (next | show all)
In the first book of the Inkheart trilogy, we are introduced to Mo, an unassuming book-repairman, who lives alone with his precocious 12-year-old daughter, Meggie. Their lives are disrupted one night when they meet a mysterious man named Dustfinger, who comes to warn them of a villain named Capricorn chasing after them. As the story unravels, Mo's past becomes clear: he has a secret gift for bringing words to life, literally, when he reads aloud. With the help of a surly Aunt Elinor, Dustfinger, and a boy brought straight out of Arabian Nights, Mo and Meggie face down Capricorn - one of the greatest villains come to life.

I admit I was surprised when I read that so many reviewers disliked this book, until I read them. For me, the book was utterly charming - combining a great love of reading, the magic of them made manifest in this fantasy world, and the inclusion of quotes from some of my childhood - and adult - favorites (Peter Pan, Lord of the Rings, and so many others. The metamessage, of course, is that reading is powerful and can bring things to life - in this case, literally. But the inclusion of these quotes brought things to another layer. They aren't just sequestered above the chapters, but brought into the chapters itself. The effect was that it felt real.

Take the character of Fenoglio, who wrote the in-book Inkspell and who initially marvels at his characters brought to life. He progresses through the book and becomes their captive and realizes how terrifying and real the villains are - no longer his creations, but something more. There's some interesting things in there about the power of a creation over a creator, and maybe a wink and a nod to the famed old chestnut authors invoke when they "didn't know a character would do that". But it also takes the reader away from "these are characters in the book" to a genuine uncertainty and fear, which is of course, what good fantasy should do.

Most of the reviews mentioned that they hated the "padding" thrown in, and initially I could see this problem. However, it makes sense within the context. We are used to books that are tightly plotted, with the action barreling along a single track, proceeding with twists and turns but always leading to the end in one line. This book is not like that. The book meanders and turns - Meggie is captured, then escapes, then captured again. An ordinary book would shake its head and claim the second capture was unnecessary. Or the first.

However, read this book in its context: it is meant to be read aloud. It is not a book in the traditional sense, but a story. Imagine a child begging to be told a story. You begin with your characters and put them in an exciting scene, then they escape. The next night you tell of their heroic strides across a dry landscape infested with snakes and with the threat of discovery looming over them. The next night, the villains encounter them again! They're subdued and your heroes make it home.

But that's not the end of the story - because there's the next night before bed, and the night after that. The book meanders and turns sharply because it's meant to mimic that oral tradition, particularly within the context of telling a story to a child before bedtime.

In that respect, the length becomes absolutely brilliant.

It's unconventional, and I certainly don't blame people for finding that approach not to their taste, but for those of you who do, read this book. You won't be disappointed. ( )
  kittyjay | Jul 18, 2015 |
In the first book of the Inkheart trilogy, we are introduced to Mo, an unassuming book-repairman, who lives alone with his precocious 12-year-old daughter, Meggie. Their lives are disrupted one night when they meet a mysterious man named Dustfinger, who comes to warn them of a villain named Capricorn chasing after them. As the story unravels, Mo's past becomes clear: he has a secret gift for bringing words to life, literally, when he reads aloud. With the help of a surly Aunt Elinor, Dustfinger, and a boy brought straight out of Arabian Nights, Mo and Meggie face down Capricorn - one of the greatest villains come to life.

I admit I was surprised when I read that so many reviewers disliked this book, until I read them. For me, the book was utterly charming - combining a great love of reading, the magic of them made manifest in this fantasy world, and the inclusion of quotes from some of my childhood - and adult - favorites (Peter Pan, Lord of the Rings, and so many others. The metamessage, of course, is that reading is powerful and can bring things to life - in this case, literally. But the inclusion of these quotes brought things to another layer. They aren't just sequestered above the chapters, but brought into the chapters itself. The effect was that it felt real.

Take the character of Fenoglio, who wrote the in-book Inkspell and who initially marvels at his characters brought to life. He progresses through the book and becomes their captive and realizes how terrifying and real the villains are - no longer his creations, but something more. There's some interesting things in there about the power of a creation over a creator, and maybe a wink and a nod to the famed old chestnut authors invoke when they "didn't know a character would do that". But it also takes the reader away from "these are characters in the book" to a genuine uncertainty and fear, which is of course, what good fantasy should do.

Most of the reviews mentioned that they hated the "padding" thrown in, and initially I could see this problem. However, it makes sense within the context. We are used to books that are tightly plotted, with the action barreling along a single track, proceeding with twists and turns but always leading to the end in one line. This book is not like that. The book meanders and turns - Meggie is captured, then escapes, then captured again. An ordinary book would shake its head and claim the second capture was unnecessary. Or the first.

However, read this book in its context: it is meant to be read aloud. It is not a book in the traditional sense, but a story. Imagine a child begging to be told a story. You begin with your characters and put them in an exciting scene, then they escape. The next night you tell of their heroic strides across a dry landscape infested with snakes and with the threat of discovery looming over them. The next night, the villains encounter them again! They're subdued and your heroes make it home.

But that's not the end of the story - because there's the next night before bed, and the night after that. The book meanders and turns sharply because it's meant to mimic that oral tradition, particularly within the context of telling a story to a child before bedtime.

In that respect, the length becomes absolutely brilliant.

It's unconventional, and I certainly don't blame people for finding that approach not to their taste, but for those of you who do, read this book. You won't be disappointed. ( )
  kittyjay | Jul 18, 2015 |
The book in general was really interesting and definitely a page turner. Although, I liked the ending in the movie much better. I don't the ending was happy enough. ( )
  Shannon29 | Jun 25, 2015 |
A very slow moving book. It used 500 pages to convey what was really not a very long story. The conceit of the book is that some people are "readers", possessing the rare gift of bringing characters or objects to real life in the process of reading a story aloud. It is a wonderful idea, but the question nagging at me throughout the last 300 pages of the book was, who on earth would ever want to read the fictional book, Inkheart, aloud? The characters that we get to know, with the exception of Dustfingers the juggler and fire-eater, are boring bullies with as much personality as a cardboard cut-out. Not worth the breath a Reader might waste on them. Why did "Mo" bother to read about them aloud - for he had an inkling of his gift by that point - and why would he read a book full of nasty, brutish villains to his beloved wife? But read it he did, and unleashed them on the world as we know it, causing himself and his family a life of trouble. We are told that "Badly told stories never come to life" (page 502), but we are only told and not shown that Inkheart is not such a story. In the end, the story somewhat redeems itself; the insufferably self-satisfied author Fenoglio invents an alternate ending (despite his pride in the published version where the villains live - "One of my best villains! How could I kill him off?" Sometimes good people die, and bad people live happy lives, he boasts - and "Why should it be different in books?") to the original, amoral story. Without undue spoilers, I can say that he does bring about a reasonably happy ending for most and left me with the feeling that my afternoon was not a total waste. However, short of being stranded at somebody's cottage on a rainy weekend with nothing else to read, I doubt that I'll read any of the sequels. ( )
  muumi | Apr 12, 2015 |
Funke really tries to force "books are awesome and can cure cancer and stuff" down your throat through the entire story but I still liked it. :) ( )
  LopiCake | Mar 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 376 (next | show all)
Such breathtaking things are going to happen, you cannot even imagine. SPECTACULAR!, FABULOUS! BREATHTAKING! If you've got to read a book it's got to be this one.
 
Inkheart is a book about books, a celebration of and a warning about books. The "Inkheart" of the title is a book. I don't think I've ever read anything that conveys so well the joys, terrors and pitfalls of reading. ...

When the villains are at last defeated and the denizens of the book tumble through into reality, it is quite disappointing to find them gaudy, small and trivial. Is Funke saying that, while books as books are wonderful, real life has a solid sort of grimness that renders make-believe flimsy? Or is she pleading with us to mix at least a little fantasy with our reality? I don't know. Inkheart leaves you asking such questions. And this is, to my mind, an important thing for a story to do.
 

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cornelia Funkeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bell, AntheaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magnaghi, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Redgrave, LynnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
If you are a dreamer, come in

If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,

A Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean Buyer,

If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire

For we have some flax-golden tales to spin

Come in!

Come in!

Shel Silverstein
Dedication
For Anna, who even put The Lord of The Rings aside for a while to read this book. Could anyone ask for more of a daughter?
And for Elinor, who lent me her name, although I didn't use it for an elf queen.
For Anna, who put 'The Lord Of The Rings' aside for this book. Could anyone ask more of a daughter? And for Elinor, who lent me her name, although i didn't use it for an elf queen.
First words
The book she had been reading was under her pillow, pressing its cover against her ear as if to lure her back into its printed pages.
Rain fell that night, a fine, whispering rain.
Quotations
Some books should be tasted some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly.
Why do grown-ups think it's easier for children to bear secrets than the truth?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
First published in Germany as Tintenherz by Cecilie Dressler Verlag, Hamburg, 2003.
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Book description
A young adult fantasy novel where a young girl and her father are able to bring a story's characters to life with equally good and bad results just by reading.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0439709105, Paperback)

Meggie’s father, Mo, has an wonderful and sometimes terrible ability. When he reads aloud from books, he brings the characters to life--literally. Mo discovered his power when Maggie was just a baby. He read so lyrically from the the book Inkheart, that several of the book’s wicked characters ended up blinking and cursing on his cottage floor. Then Mo discovered something even worse--when he read Capricorn and his henchmen out of Inkheart, he accidentally read Meggie’s mother in.

Meggie, now a young lady, knows nothing of her father's bizarre and powerful talent, only that Mo still refuses to read to her. Capricorn, a being so evil he would "feed a bird to a cat on purpose, just to watch it being torn apart," has searched for Meggie's father for years, wanting to twist Mo's powerful talent to his own dark means. Finally, Capricorn realizes that the best way to lure Mo to his remote mountain hideaway is to use his beloved, oblivious daughter Meggie as bait!

Cornelia Funke’s imaginative ode to books and book lovers is sure to be enjoyed by fans of her breakout debut, The Thief Lord, and young readers who enjoyed the similarly themed The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley. (Ages 10 to 15) --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:03 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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