Original title: Die Stadt der Träumenden Bücher (2004). Translated into English in 2006.
Optimus Yarnspinner, a young Zamonian writer, inherits very little from his beloved godfather apart from an unpublished short story by an unknown author.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 and make them laugh but 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!
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.