The 35th of May, or Conrad's Ride to the South Seas
|Original title||Der 35. Mai oder Konrad reitet in die Südsee|
|Publisher||New English Library|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
The 35th of May, or Conrad's Ride to the South Seas (Der 35. Mai oder Konrad reitet in die Südsee in German, its original language) is a novel by Erich Kästner, first published in 1931. Unlike most of Kästner's other works - set in a completely realistic contemporary Germany - the present book is a work of fantasy and satire.
The novel is about Conrad, a young boy, who spends each Thursday afternoon with his uncle, Mr. Ringelhuth. One Thursday — it happens to be the 35th of May — they meet Negro Caballo, a black horse that can speak, is well-versed in German literature, and at the same time, is the best roller skater in the world. Together they enter Mr. Ringelhuth's huge wardrobe, which stands in the hallway, and end up in a series of fantasy lands, starting with the land of Cockaigne ("free entry — children half price"), followed by a mediaeval castle complete with jousting, an upside-down world in which children send bad parents to reform school, a science fiction nightmare city with mobile phones and moving walkways, and a South Sea island. On his return to the real world, Conrad writes a school essay about his experiences.
The plot device of a magic wardrobe through which the characters enter magical lands anticipates the similar device used by C.S. Lewis in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and, earlier, in the 1912 short story by Edith Nesbit, "The Aunt and Amabel" — in which a girl enters a magic world through a wardrobe. (Critics accept that this was Lewis's inspiration.)
- "THE 35TH OF MAY; OR, CONRAD'S RIDE TO THE SOUTH SEAS. By Erich Kaestner. Illustrated by Walter Trier.". The New York Times. 11 November 1934.
- Nitzan, Danit (4 December 2006). "Horseback riding: The basics". Haaretz.
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