A neverending friendship

Have you read Michael Ende's "The Neverending Story"? Those of my generation have certainly seen the movie. However, the book really deserves to be read, it has been translated in more than 40 languages! I'll tell you why I chose to talk about "The neverending story" today.

Some frames of the movie inspired by the book of Michael Ende, The neverending story.
Some frames of the movie inspired by the book of Michael Ende, The neverending story.

Bastian, the protagonist, is a child who loves to get lost in reading also, but not only, to defend himself from reality. I was a child very similar to him and I read this book as a child (in the precious edition with the silk cover and the pages printed in red for the parts set in the real world and in green for those set in Fantastica) feeling completely involved, a total identification, just like that of Bastian in the pages of the German master. Michael Ende about his protagonist:

La storia infinita, edizione italiana del 1981
La storia infinita, edizione italiana del 1981

«You think: what kind of story must it be that compels the reader to get into it, why does the story simply need him? Well, and this is how these fantasies came about after many mistakes and groping around. Then the second question is: what kind of boy does that have to be? It doesn't happen to everyone. What requirements does he have to have in order to embark on this adventure at all? Then I had a completely different Bastian. I had an antisocial, a defiant boy who locks himself against the world. I only noticed when I was already in the middle of the book that it will certainly never come back. I don't get the story at all. So back again and started again. What is in the book today is about a fifth of what I actually wrote. Four fifths went to the trash. »


In short, The neverending story is a journey into the realm of imagination, from which, however, we must return.

I think this continuous round-trip training from other worlds is well known by readers and also by us who create small parallel worlds for work.


But the ultimate reason why I decided to talk about it today is that today is World Friendship Day. In this story there is a very particular friendship, let's say there are multiple forms of friendship. The incredible one between Atreyu, Bastian's alter ego in the world of Fantastica and Falkor (Fùcur in the book) the lucky dragon who carries him during his journey, a friend who has great psychological strength and guides him. Then there is Artax the horse that, in the swamp of sadness, loses hope and joy of life, recalling the difficulty of reaching a friend in the black hole of depression. There is also the friendship / identification between Bastian and Atreyu which makes Bastian brave and heroic and Atreyu more human.

The song theme of the movie that defines a generation (it still makes me shiver) references to the movie and the song are in various series and films including Stranger Things (Netflix)

This is also a book on friendship, on the different encounters, all important, which are made in life, on the cathartic value and which I strongly recommend you read even if you are an adult, you will not regret it. In addition, Michael Ende is truly a master of imagination, the Germans, who in the commonplace should be more akin to the technique and reality that imagination  flights have given us among the most brilliant writers in this narrative genre, just think of the contemporary and brilliant Walter Moers of whom I, personally, have read everything and which I also recommend to you, of course.

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