Reading progress update: I've read 247 out of 382 pages.

Der Schrecksenmeister - Walter Moers

'Jedes Ding', flüsterte Eißpin, 'hat seinen Schatten. Der Schatten ist die dunkle Seite, die jedem innewohnt. Solange er an uns gekettet ist, ist er unser Sklave, aber sobald man die Schatten von Ihren Besitzern trennt, zeigen sie ihr wahres Wesen. Dann werden sie böse, wild und gefährlich.' Der Schrecksenmeister, Succubus Eißpin



Picture to yourself the sickest place in the whole of Zamonia!  A little town with winding streets and crooked houses, and looming over it a creepy-looking castle perched on a black crag.  A town afflicted by the rarest bacteria and the oddest diseases: cerebral whooping cough, hepatic migraine, gastric mumps, intestinal acne, digital tinnitus, renal measles, mini-influenza, to which only persons less than one metre tall are susceptible, witching-hour headaches that develop on the stroke of midnight and disappear at one a.m. precisely on the first Thursday of every month, phantom toothaches experienced only by persons wearing a full set of dentures.

Picture a town where there are more apothecaries and herbalists, quacks and tooth-pullers, crutch manufacturers and bandage weavers than anywhere else on the Zamonian continent.  Where ‘Ouch!’ is the conventional form of greeting and ‘Get well soon!’ takes the place of ‘Goodbye’.  Where the air smells of ether and pus, cod-liver oil and emetics, iodine and putrefaction.  Where people vegetate and wheeze instead of living and breathing.  Where nobody laughs, just moans and groans.