Tschick (Why We Took the Car)

 © Grupa Wydawnicza Foksal, 2013Anna Budyńska
Goethe-Institut Poland, 2014

 © Grupa Wydawnicza Foksal, 2013Two teenagers, two harmless rowdies on holiday, driving an old Lada down the motorway. What are they looking for? Where do they want to go?
Why We Took the Car is a wonderful book, a cross between a Bildungsroman and a road movie. Wolfgang Herrndorf tells his story with lightness, wit and intelligence. The book also has lively dialogues and is not boring for a moment. (…)

With all its slapstick, the book stands entirely in the Bildungsroman tradition. Wolfgang Herrndorf has taken this genre, which emerged in Germany towards the end of the 18th century, and has made it accessible to contemporary readers. What we have here is a nostalgic but at the same time extremely lively story about growing up in Germany, and about the beginning of a friendship between two teenagers who redefine their relationship to their environment and their families (who do not come of very well in the book). But anyone fearing holier-than-thou lecturing can rest assured that instead raising an accusatory finger, Why We Took the Car is full of irony and biting wit.

Although the travel and rites-of-passage motifs are anything but new, one can hardly put this book down – and that is probably the best recommendation that can be made.

Wolfgang Herrndorf
Tłumaczenie: Agnieszka Kowaluk
Tytuł oryginału: Tschick (Why We Took the Car).
Warszawa: Grupa Wydawnicza Foksal, 2013
ISBN 978-83-7747-946-9