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Momo by Michael Ende

Momo (original 1973; edition 1992)

by Michael Ende, J. Maxwell Brownjohn (Translator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,299512,763 (4.33)51
Authors:Michael Ende
Other authors:J. Maxwell Brownjohn (Translator)
Info:Penguin Books (1992), Paperback, 240 pages
Collections:Your library, @Home
Tags:Fiction, Fantasy

Work details

Momo by Michael Ende (Author) (1973)

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» See also 51 mentions

English (36)  Spanish (5)  Italian (3)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (1)  German (1)  All languages (50)
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
I was motivated to read Momo as a potentially quick read auf Deutsch, which it was. The story dragged a bit in parts, especially the last third, also not unexpected. To my pleasant surprise, the allegory was clever enough to keep my interest even as I refreshed my vocabulary and verb tenses.

I'm intrigued by, yet formally unfamiliar with allegory as a literary device. Clearly Momo provides an extended metaphor; it seems to me it works on at least two levels, perhaps this is typical.

For one, the characters are allegorical: Momo standing in as Peter Pan, the ideal of eternal childhood; Gigi embodies the wonder of child-like play and imagination; Beppo emphasizes the importance of living in the present moment, the eternal present.

For another, the plot or in any case, basic dynamics also are allegorical, arguing for the toxic influence of modernity as manifested in efficiency, an emphasis upon material or empirical results, and commerce as the preferred social interaction. It's tempting to see the Grey Men as another example of character allegory, but really they are the external manifestation of people living into a modern life, the way time is stolen even as every effort is made to streamline and waste not a moment, the erosion of community and care which follows, the resulting drab existence. Then too, the Grey Men are an outward manifestation of a certain relationship of self to oneself, to others, to the world; so, a means of understanding an abstraction.

The ending doesn't quite work as allegory: it fits Momo's character, that she help bring about the end of the Grey Men, but without really changing who she is. She experiences no growth, just "fitness" or an adventure based on who she is, how she interacts with others. But Ende is foremost a storyteller, it's clear the ending fits the story, and not the allegory, and he's to be commended for that.


Variation on the Ship of Perseus, with a twist: is the Earth we are on the original, or merely a copy, made from the raw material of a previous Earth? [47-8]

Die Drei Brueder: one always at home, one you've always just missed, the other is just coming now .... [154]

This edition on cream paper with brown ink, and including line drawing tailpieces and occasional full-page line drawing illustrations throughout. ( )
  elenchus | Feb 9, 2015 |
I first started Momo back in 1995 just before graduating from UCSB. As it was a library book, I had to return the book in order to graduate! I never got past the point where the grey men start to plot against Momo. At long last I have been able to finish the book! ( )
  pussreboots | Aug 24, 2014 |
  BRCSBooks | Aug 15, 2014 |
What can I say about Momo? One of the best kids/YA books of all time. Like The Phantom Tollbooth there's a lesson in it, but in this case the lesson is one grownups in our society need much more than their kids. This is really one of those rare books that can charm and fascinate kids while giving the adult reader that "if only..." sense of longing that only the best fantasy can create.

( )
  CSRodgers | May 3, 2014 |
Ende is so well-known for 'The Never Ending Story' that it'd be easy to overlook his other work - and that would be a shame. 'Momo' is relatively brief, in places a smidgen disjointed, but overall a nice little tale, and I'll be keeping my worn-out paperback somewhere safe so that my own little girl can one day enjoy it. ( )
  soylentgreen23 | Mar 21, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ende, MichaelAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Angeleri, DariaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brownjohn, J. MaxwellTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Constante, SusanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hechelmann, FriedrichIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heslop, MaggieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalász, MártonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krogstad, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Makkonen, MarikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Momo (1986IMDb)
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Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky!

Jane Taylor (1783-1827)
First words
Long, long ago, when people spoke languages quite different from our own, many fine, big cities already existed in the many lands of the world.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
In this intricate and compelling story of a fantastic country, Momo sets out to destroy the enemy. The mysterious Professor Hora and his strangely gifted tortoise, Cassiopeia, will help her.
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The Neverending Story is Michael Endes best-known book, but Momo, published six years earlier, is the all-ages fantasy novel that first won him wide acclaim. After the sweet-talking gray men come to town, life becomes terminally efficient. Can Momo, a young orphan girl blessed with the gift of listening, vanquish the ashen-faced time thieves before joy vanishes forever? With gorgeous new drawings by Marcel Dzama and a new translation from the German by Lucas Zwirner, this all-new 40th anniversary edition celebrates the book's first U.S. publication in over 25 years.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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