It was seeing the film that had me even less enthusiastic about reading Inkheart than before. Not that I found the film bad. It was great. I suspected the book would be all right, but felt less urgency simply because of that film. So my copy of the book went from pile to box to back of shelves. I wonder what Mo would say about that? He might be just a character, but one with strong opinions on books.

Before the film I also had totally the wrong idea of what the book was about, which goes to prove that blurbs can mislead. The real plot is much more attractive than the one I was ‘avoiding.’

It would still sit on an obscure shelf, were it not for the fact that I needed another foreign book for my challenge. I’d run out, more or less. But it is German, and I’d not done Germany yet. It was actually in my possession, so despite its 550 pages I began.

I minded dreadfully for the first hundred pages. It was too much like the film. I knew it all. But then, it stopped being a chore and became something nice. Very nice. I found myself wanting to sit there in my armchair and not stop. It’s like smooth chocolate. (The book, not the chair.) Nice. Comfortable. Just right. (That goes for both book and chair.)

Being the last person in the world to read Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart, I don’t need to tell you what it’s about. I find it quite natural that you can read characters out of books by reading aloud. Even that you can also have a real person pop into a book and disappear. What I found strange was that everyone could talk to each other. What language were they communicating in? I assume Mo and Meggie are German. Aunt Elinor must be Italian-ish. And the baddies are definitely Italian, and so is their author Fenoglio.

The book isn’t even too long. Or too short. It’s just right. And for a book with two sequels, it ends so that you don’t have to read on. I’ll probably want to, though. Won’t I?

It’s infuriating when it turns out that Cornelia’s fans have been right all these years. She’s a marvellous writer. What’s more, Inkheart has been translated masterfully by Anthea Bell. It’s so smooth (chocolate again, I’m afraid), it’s as if it had not been translated at all.

10 responses to “Inkheart

  1. I lived this series, and because I read them before seeing the film, the film was a bit of a let down. Although, part of me wishes they had made the other films… I’d love to have visually dived into Inkworld with Dustfinger!

  2. Never, never, never jump to judgment based on a film! Shocked you hadn’t read it before … that oughta teach you, Bookwitch! Mind you, I’ve read books because I’d seen the movie.

  3. Films do tend to let you down, but this way round it was absolutely fine. So fine, as I said, that I didn’t ‘need’ to read the book. Or so I thought.
    Yes, I read the Famous Five after seeing the film.
    There will always be books we’ve not had time for, Candy. And the blurb for Inkheart did it no favours.

  4. I’ve avoided the film, because I wasn’t sure it would do justice to the imagination I had stirred from the book(s), but given that you loved the film, I’m now tempted. I really enjoyed the three books, and you’re right that they’re not hard at all.

    As for the language thing, I rather took it to be a little like travelling in the TARDIS in that all languages are rendered comprehensible within the book(s) by virtue of travelling into them through the means of reading the book.

  5. Inkheart is great, but Dragon Rider is my favourite: such atmosphere and so beautifully wise – we re-read it every year or so and always love it. The Thief Lord is so exciting and thought-provoking too with everyone ending up with their just deserts.

  6. Now you’re all busy ruining my Christmas reading plans!

    I obviously can’t guarantee that anyone will like the film after the books, but it wasn’t that kind of experience when you wonder what on earth it’s all about. Some of the actors were not as described in the book, so I’m afraid I took the actors’ faces in some cases, when reading. And I understand Cornelia wrote the book with the actor who played Mo in mind. I have disliked so many films in recent years, but I did like this. So many ‘children’s films’ are weak and disappointing, and this wasn’t.

    But if you hate it, it’s nothing to do with me!!

  7. I haven’t read it yet, though it’s sitting on a shelf in my office waiting for me…WIll be avoiding the film until I’ve finished the book, mind.

  8. Don’t delay, she says. A nice read for Christmas?

  9. Pingback: German Literature Month 2011: Author Index « Lizzy’s Literary Life

  10. I love that book so much it made the list. The other two books in the trilogy are even better then the first one. The movie wasn’t as good though. It just didn’t capture the spirit and the tension of the books I think. But it was still good though.
    I also recommend The thief lord, which in my opinion is her best book.

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