Momo oder die seltsame Geschichte von den Zeit-Dieben und von dem Kind, das den Menschen die gestohlene Zeit zurückbrachte : ein Märchen-Roman

by Michael Ende

Paper Book, 1993



Call number

GN 4450 M733



Mchen : Dt. Taschenbuch-Verl., 1993.


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.

User reviews

LibraryThing member saroz
A singular book by Michael Ende, not nearly as well known as "The Neverending Story," but - in my opinion - just as meaningful, and a great deal more succinct. That longer and more famous novel is about the power of stories; this is about the power of time. Both long for the simplicity of youth
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and, in so doing, try to warn child readers against growing up the wrong way (both also feature friendly protagonists subsumed by the power they are given). As a result, they're a bit heavy-handed - but in the sense of an old-time fairy tale, where the morality lesson is clear, but carefully sewn into the fabric ofthe story. Kids shouldn't be put off by the technique.

More simply: where else can you find the Buddhist parable of life and death put in simple child's terms? _Acceptable_ terms, too, without pulling any punches? Perhaps Ende was inspired - or more aptly, horrified - by the rise of fascism during his own childhood, within his own country. Can it be any coincidence that "Momo" is set in a fictional Italian village, where "grey men" invade and set to work making sure everything runs on time?

Like "The Neverending Story" - and the inevitable comparison is a bit unfortunate, because "Momo" works so well on its own terms - this is a 'hard' children's novel, but a worthwhile one. It certainly does not deserve the obscurity it suffers in the English-speaking world. Someone should take a chance and reprint this, right away.
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LibraryThing member Tinwara
Some books that you read as a child make a lasting impression. You never forget them. However, it is not always a good idea to reread them as an adult. Times change, you've grown up, you've read so many more books that you've become a more critical reader. You remember a book as absolutely scaring
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or sad, but when you read it again, the magic is gone.

Momo, however, is a book does stand the test of time. On a superficial level it is an adventure of a little girl fighting an army of scary grey men, who steal time. But on a deeper level, it is an ode to the imagination, an ode to friendship and an ode to the beauty of life. It was lovely to read this again, I loved the chapter about the children's fantasies, because it made me remember what it was like to be a child. The book also made me think about my present busy live, the way the hours disappear and how all this adult business gets me so hurried up that I sometimes forget about the truer, and more important things in life.
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LibraryThing member angharad
I just love this book. The only thing about it that I maybe don't like is that as a reader I can't relate thoroughly to the protagonist: she and her origins are a mystery. That aside, it's a wonderful dystopian children's fantasy quest. (Incidentally, this book is why I will never eat at a
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standing-up-only restaurant, and why I try not to eat standing up at home.)
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LibraryThing member othersam
Okay, no word of a lie, this is ONE OF THE BEST CHILDREN'S STORIES EVER WRITTEN. Ende is a household name elsewhere in Europe, but here in the UK (where I'm from) he's mostly just known for The Neverending Story. That's also a good book, but this is even better. A powerful allegory about the
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importance of taking time to enjoy life, this story also contains (in my opinion) the most frightening baddies in the whole of children's literature. You have to read this, it's FANTASTIC.
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LibraryThing member Cecrow
This is a special book. Momo is an orphan living in an ancient, abandoned amphitheatre. She has one special power. It's nothing you'd expect of a superhero, but in this story it makes all the difference. There is a strong dividing line between stories with events tossed in just to propel it
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forward, and stories built like carefully constructed edifices or arguments with nothing extraneous and an important meaning behind everything that occurs. This has the feeling of the latter. Even as Momo and her friends are engaged in the imaginative voyage of the Ajax, an entire chapter of make-believe, I did not doubt that Michael Ende included even that scene with a distinct purpose in mind. Comparisons with 'The Neverending Story' are inevitable. This is not as complex as the other but maybe just as challenging, and lessons abound.

Michael Ende is fearlessly subtle. He can say the deepest things in the simplest words, and not worry overmuch whether you're grasping their meaning. With lines like, "There are treasures capable of destroying those who have no one to share them with" scattered within a straightforward story for children, an adult also has something to chew on. It is a story at least partially about the importance of taking the time - stealing time, we sometimes say - to appreciate one another in a world that is always madly rushing forward. The grey men may not be real to us in a literal sense, but in the form of time-consuming, time-wasting things we do that make us wonder why there aren't enough hours in a day. The trick is not to confuse time-wasting with enjoyable time well spent. Like when someone my age sets aside studying the French Revolution to spend a few minutes with this.
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LibraryThing member kikianika
One of the books that influenced my world view growing up.
LibraryThing member spiphany
For some reason, people in the US rarely seem to be familiar with any of Michael Ende's books except for The Neverending Story. But Momo is at least as good, if not better. The Neverending Story is primarily a fantasy, although with more serious and at times sinister undertones. Momo is much more
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than that. It takes place, like most fairy tales, suspended in a curious sort of timelessness. (The story, Michael Ende writes, was told to him by a man on a train, who commented afterwards, "I've described all these events as if they'd already happened. I might just as well have described them as if they still lay in the future. To me, there's very little difference.") As a fable, this makes it all the more effective. And it is thoroughly appropriate to the subject of the book. Time - timelessness - the symbolism is entwined in every aspect of the book.
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LibraryThing member Daniel.Estes
One of the book's central themes is the subject of time. Or rather how we choose to spend the time we have. The character Momo is a humble orphan girl who has a rare talent for patience and listening. The townsfolk find that if they share their problems with her, they gain a new understanding of
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them. In contrast, her adversaries (and really, everyone's adversaries) are the men in gray. These are the covert phantoms who steal and thrive on the misspent time of daily living.
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LibraryThing member michellnaki
the opening kinda bland , I don't know , maybe because I already over with over-description thingie . but the rest is fine . And later I found out that this michael ende also write neverending story . woww !! I love neverending story !! so I will give +1 rating for this book :D
LibraryThing member isabelx
An allegorical fairy tale by the author of The Neverending Story. Momo, an orphan girl living in the ruined amphitheatre, outwits the time thieves who have persuaded the townsfolk to think only of work, money and 'saving time', with the help of Professor Hora and his prescient tortoise.
LibraryThing member coleoptera
I hadn’t read this in a long, long time... probably 10 or 15 years ago, and I’m very delighted I dug up a copy. I’d forgotten enough of it that it sucked me in all over again. The magic was still there :) Be bold and daring! Request the book through the library and dive into it sight unseen.
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Speaking of sight unseen, I realized at the end of the book that while it was illustrated, the artist never forced a face on me. I am left to picture Momo as my pretty little head sees fit. Kinda like a nice MUD I know...

It was originally written in German, and according to Amazon it was made into a movie in 1985 or so, but the film seems to have been released in German with no subtitles. I bet I understand more of it than if it were in Finnish!

If the author’s name looks familiar, he also wrote The Never Ending Story, another great read.
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LibraryThing member milomidnight
I think this book is better than The Neverending Story... ignore the terrible cover that Puffin still use on the book (makes it look like something dreary/worthy about a starving orphan)and step inside.

It is a wonderful, touching and imaginative tale that I can easily imagine as a very Guillermo
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Del Toro style fantasy. If Del Toro ever decided to do a childrens film...
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LibraryThing member JapaG
Momo, even though disguised as a children's book, has deep philosophical discussion. What should we be doing with our time here? How should we work, play, and be with friends?

No matter what someone thinks about these kind of things, time spent reading Momo is definitely time well spent.
LibraryThing member kikilon
One of the books that influenced my world view growing up.
LibraryThing member jnicholson
An unusually structured novel about enjoying the time you have. Momo is a waif who resists the efforts of mysterious grey men who are stealing time. The story seems oddly disjointed in places, which may be an artifact of the transation. This is nevertheless a compelling tale with interesting and
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well drawn characters.
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LibraryThing member StefanieGeeks
I can see how this book would be powerful to a 4th-6th grader but I think it would have been more powerful to me, as an adult, as a short story in a science fiction collection (cut out about 150 pages). There are some excellent quotes by loveable characters like when Beppo Roadsweeper talks about
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sweeping "the road" and taking time to enjoy it. I had a very hard time finishing it just because there are so many more interesting reads available right now.
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LibraryThing member averym
If everyone understood this book life would suck significantly less.

P.S. Check out the UnSuggestions for this book, it may possibly make your entire day
LibraryThing member elenchus
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.

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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 a preference for commerce as 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.
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LibraryThing member callmecayce
Although I had trouble getting into the story and there were times when I thought it was going on for a bit too long, it was a mostly enjoyable read. I think it would make a good novel to read out loud (perhaps to 4th/5th graders) in short bursts. I did like that Ende didn't write down to his
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readers, assuming that they would all be able to understand the story (no matter the age). A decent read, but not a favorite nor anything I'd want to reread.
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LibraryThing member GreenQuill
Momo is the endearing girl with large, dark eyes who sets out to save her friends from the sinister time devourers. The book has a lovely hidden message that will hold true for many years to come - that we do not find the time to enjoy the little pleasures of life. Although intended for a younger
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readership, the book will appeal more to adults who will love Momo for her simplicity and courage, and love Michael Ende for his parable.
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LibraryThing member pussreboots
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!
LibraryThing member AliceaP
A lot of people are preoccupied with time: How it should be spent, how it can be saved, and how to make sure it isn't wasted. Have you ever accused someone of stealing your time? Momo is the only person who is able to resist the allure of the grey men who are time thieves. An already unique child,
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Momo, is abandoned by all of her friends who have fallen prey to these menaces (and they really do sound menacing + the illustrations are delightfully creepy). Much like The Neverending Story, the city that Michael Ende has created feels tangible and real...actually it sounds like Rome. The characters leap off of the page. Fantasy is done right when your imagination is allowed to run rampant and a talking turtle is as ordinary as a gorilla that learns sign language (I still think that's amazing). Momo is all about making the most of your time by spending it with those that you love. I think this is an especially poignant message for adults who are bombarded with deadlines and to-do lists and children who often feel neglected by those same adults. The message is clear but the delivery is what makes Ende's writing so special and why I believe he is an underrated children's author in our country (but not in his home country of Germany!).
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LibraryThing member Cheryl_in_CC_NV
p. 67 out of 225. ?�Obvious & preachy. ?áAlmost no humor. ?áBoring. ?áYou know those ppl who first attempt to read The Little Prince or The Phantom Tollbooth as a adults, and don't like those beloved stories? ?áI now empathize with them. ?á
LibraryThing member avarisclari
A wonderful little story.
LibraryThing member spiralsheep
82/2021. Momo, by Michael Ende, is a 1973 children's fantasy novel by the author of Neverending Story. I read the 1984 English translation by J. Maxwell Brownjohn. I'm not sure how children today would react to this fable as their social conditions have changed somewhat since 1973. However I can
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say that this is a perfect story for GenXers and I suspect middle age is as good a time to read it as childhood. My Penguin edition has a gorgeous and appropriately surrealist influenced cover by Bob Haberfield.
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Original publication date


Physical description

259 p.; 18 cm


3423109580 / 9783423109581
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