Ensel and Krete (2000)

Using the fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel as a concept blueprint for his story, Moers tells his own version of two small children lost in a big, scary forest. Unlike in the original, they get lost all on their own. During their journey they face many different dangers, until the finally meet a witch, like in the original.

This is a very slim book compared to Moers’s other Zamonien novels, even less if one discounts the short biography of the fictional author Hildegunst von Mythenmetz and his disruptions during the ongoing plot. These disruptions happen from time to time, and range from extremely annoying to quite funny, depending on the mood you’re in. When they’re annoying, they break the flow of the story and may even make you stop reading for some time. At other times they made me laugh out loud with their over the top attacks on fictional entities like Mythenmetz’s main critic and archenemy Laptantidel Latuda.

The main plot is well done, even if it needs, unlike in Moers’s other books, some time to get started and captivate the reader. Overall I liked it, but it felt like a snack. At the end you’ll need more to satisfy your hunger instead of feeling sated.

no English translation, German title: Ensel und Krete