‘One of the most amazing things about Momo is that it was published in 1973. Since then, the temporal nightmare it depicts has become our reality’- [David Loy, Linda Goodhew].
Kirja kertoo Momo-nimisestä tytöstä, joka asuu antiikinaikaisen amfiteatterin raunioilla. Momolla on eräs ominaisuus: hän osaa todella kuunnella muita, kun heillä on huolia. Momo ja hänen ystävänsä huomaavat pian, että ihmisillä ei olekaan enää aikaa mihinkään. He saavat selville, että syy on aikaa varastavien harmaiden herrojen. Eräänä iltana Momo löytää Kassiopeia-nimisen kilpikonnan, joka vie hänet mestari Horan, ajan herran luo. Mestari Horan ja Kassiopeian avulla Momo taistelee harmaita herroja vastaan ja onnistuu palauttamaan ihmisille sen kaiken ajan, jonka harmaat herrat olivat heiltä riistäneet. [wiki].
'Momoa lukiessani en voinut olla miettimättä The Matrix –elokuvaa (1999), jossa myös on kasvottomia agentteja, jotka vampyyrien tavoin ravitsevat itseään ihmisillä ilman, että ihmiset ovat tästä millään tasolla tietoisia.' - [Mythopoiea]
As in his well-known work The Neverending Story, Michael Ende uses fantasy and symbolism to deal with real world matters such as the nature and importance of time, the power of stories, friendship, compassion and the value of the small but pleasant things that make life more worth living.
The main theme of Momo can be seen as a criticism of consumerism and stress. It describes the personal and social losses produced by unnecessary consumption, and the danger to be driven by a hidden interest group with enough power to induce people into this life style. Michael Ende has also claimed to have had the concept of aging money in mind when writing Momo.
Childhood is also an important subject in many of Ende's books. In Momo it is used to offer contrast with the adult society. As children have "all the time in the world", they are a difficult target for the Men in Grey: children can't be convinced that their games are time-wasting. The author uses a mockery of Barbie dolls and other expensive toys as symbols to show how anyone can be persuaded, even indirectly, into consumerism.
LITERARY SIGNICANCE & CRITICISM
An article by philosopher David Loy and literature professor Linda Goodhew called Momo "one of the most remarkable novels of the late twentieth century". They further state that: "One of the most amazing things about Momo is that it was published in 1973. Since then, the temporal nightmare it depicts has become our reality."
Ende himself has said that "Momo is a tribute of gratitude to Italy and also a declaration of love," indicating that the author idealized the Italian way of life. Loy and Goodhew suggested that Ende's perspective on time coincided with his interest in Buddhism and that for example the deliberately slow character of Beppo might be regarded as a Zen master, even though Ende wrote the book long before his visits to Japan.
When the book was published in the U.S. in 1985, Natalie Babbit from the Washington Post commented: "Is it a children's book? Not here in America." Momo was republished by Puffin Press on January 19, 2009.