or: The Grey Gentlemen

Momo lives outside a big city, within the ruins of an amphitheatre. She owns nothing but what she finds or receives as a present but she has an extraordinary gift: She is a wonderful listener. One day, however, the grey gentlemen enter the stage. They are after the precious lifetime of people – and Momo is the only one able to stop them. The unkempt little heroine has nothing but a flower in her hand and a tortoise tucked under her arm to fight the vast army of the “grey gentlemen”.
It is the enigma “time” itself that this book is about, an enigma that fascinates thoughtful children and also adults who have not forgotten how to be astonished about things that appear normal. A fairytale? One could call it that if one understands the term in the sense of the Romantic Age. Day and dream flow into each other in a poetic way. Maybe something like a novel? Let’s say: A fairytale-novel.

Original Edition

  • Original title: Momo oder: Die seltsame Geschichte von den Zeit-Dieben und von dem Kind, das den Menschen die gestohlene Zeit zurückbrachte
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 272
  • Illustrations: Michael Ende
  • Year of publication: 1973
  • Publisher: Thienemann
  • Translations:
    Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Asturian, Basque, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (GB & USA), Estonian, Faroese; Finnish, French, Galician, Georgian, Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kazakh, Korean, Kyrgyz, Latvian, Lithuanian, Macedonian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala (Sri Lanka), Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Vietnamese

In English:

  • The Grey Gentlemen
    Hardcover, Burke 1975.

Press Reviews

"This all-ages delight deserves rescue and is ideal for classroom (or bedtime) read-alouds – especially if the grown-ups pay attention along with the children."

– Kirkus Reviews

"In this fairy tale novel young people and children that suffer from their hectic lifestyle are encouraged in a fantastic way. But at the same time they are asked to use this encouragement and transfer their experience with the novel into reality."

– From the declaration of the jury awarding Momo with the Deutscher Jugendbuchpreis (German Children’s Literature Award) in 1974

Current Editions

In English:

  • Momo
    Paperback, 240 pages, Puffin 2009

In German:

  • Momo
    Hardcover, 304 pages, illustrated by Michael Ende, Thienemann 2021.
  • Momo
    E-Book, 304 pages, Thienemann 2017.
  • Momo
    Paperback, 304 pages, illustrated by Michael Ende, Thienemann 2014.
  • Momo (luxury edition)
    Paperback, 256 pages, illustrated by Friedrich Hechelmann, Thienemann 2010.
  • Momo (luxury edition)
    Hardcover, 256 pages, illustrated by Friedrich Hechelmann, Thienemann 2009.