© Mag/EtöDiāna Smuška
Setting Off on a Journey. Wolfgang Herrndorf‘s novel Why We Took the Car
In:, University of Latvia, 25 April 2014

© Jāņa Rozes apgādsWolfgang Herrndorf‘s coming-of-age novel Why We Took the Car addresses serious social issues. It is about a teenager’s relationship with his parents, for whom their son is not the focus of their lives, and it is about the feelings of a 14-year-old in a class in which he is rejected both by the other pupils and by the teacher. Yet the original narrative style ensures that after reading this book, readers are not left hopelessly sad. Indeed, that is the key to the novel’s success. The serious content is presented in a humorous way. (...) Why We Took the Car is a book that can certainly be read by youngsters. In contrast to other novels for young adults, however, Wolfgang Herrndorf’s novel Why We Took the Car is also of interest to teenagers’ parents. Thankfully, Herrndorf manages to tell his story without lecturing or moralising. (...) This novel also teaches us something else – your own opinion is the most important thing, and it can be formed through an initiation process, in this case a journey into the unknown in a stolen car. Although Maik’s father has taught his son how bad the world is and that nobody can be trusted, Maik draws the opposite conclusion after his adventurous journey: “People are bad. And perhaps that’s right, and people are 99 per cent bad. But the strange thing was that on our journey, Tschick and I met almost exclusively the one percent who were not bad.” (pp. 186-187). Such is life.

Wolfgang Herrndorf
Čiks (original title: Tschick)
Translation: Māra Poļakova
Rīga : Jāņa Rozes apgāds, 2014
ISBN 9789984234670