This is a short, whimsical tale for anyone who loves a beautifully crafted story and for anyone who simply loves words. The ultimate fairy story with an edge of danger and darkness like the traditional European tales of old (no Disney princesses here thank goodness!) and also a mystery story. I spent the whole book trying to guess Words name but ultimately failed despite the author offering clues. At times I felt like a child again, not entirely sure of the literary landscape and of not being on level footing something the adult reader tends to lose as they spot formulas, tropes, tricks and plot devices in the books they read. I was glad The Mad was a character because I felt the same as I did when I first read Alice to myself many moons ago.
I have always loved using older words (I refuse to say outdated) hitherto-fore being a favourite and from now on I shall make sure The Wise old Wherefore is remembered, and written down by this human. Though now I feel a pang of guilt every time I use brackets and I can’t even let my head go to what happens when words are spoken aloud.
I was very glad to see at the end of the book a note from the translator and how they’d tackled the very tricky problem of not just translating something verbatim but keeping the sense of word play and grammatical detail as fun and creative as in the original German. If only my GCSE level German was sufficient for me to read the original too!