BY SEAN CLARK
Author: Walter Moers
Filed Under: Literary, Fantasy, Young Adult
I bought this book off a remainders shelf years ago. I’ve since seen and bought other books by Moers on the same shelf. It’s a shame his books aren’t more successful or at least popular; this is a fun, playful book with a whole lot of charm. I suppose Moers’s low profile does make a bit of sense though: this is a book for a very particular reader. Off the top of my head, I could name 2 people I know who would love it, and at least 5 who would hate it.
It’s a thick book full of some big words, but also one of the lightest, most whimsical books I’ve read in a long while–one that places a lot of demands on the reader’s imagination. Readers looking for a dense, literary experience will be let down, as will those looking for a breezy adventure. Readers who like stuff balanced on the fulcrum of that seesaw, however, are in for a treat.
Moers’s world, Zamomia, is not a realistic world by any approximation. It is populated by fantastical dinosaurs, one-eyed goblins, shark-grubs, hog-men, and all sorts of other inventive denizens. The world itself is malleable enough to support the story at hand without needing further description. Dr. Seuss’s characters would be at home here. The City of Dreaming Books takes place in a city called Bookholm (other books explore elsewhere in Zamomia), a city literally built of books, where life revolves entirely around reading, producing, buying, selling, and discussing books. Continue reading