Read What Germany is Reading: “Tschick”
By Julia Kupper
Hyped as one of the best German books in the last ten years, Wolfgang Herrndorf’s “Tschick (Why We Took the Car)” is a young-adult novel about an unusual friendship between Maik Klingenberg, a 14-year-old middle-class boy from a broken home, and Andrej Tschichatschow (aka “Tschick”), a recent young immigrant from Russia. The two “borrow” an old Lada – one of the only car brands available in the former GDR and manufactured in Russia – and take off on a road-trip odyssey through the wilds of the former East Germany.
The German version was published in 2010 and won the German Children’s Literature Award (Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis), a prize sponsored by the German Federal Ministry for Families, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth. The English translation was published by Scholastic in 2014. The novel was also turned into a movie; “Tschick” released in German movie theaters in September 2016. Sadly, Herrndorf committed suicide in 2013 after he was diagnosed with cancer.