Just read “In Plüschgewittern”, the Wolfgang Herrndorf’s debut novel. It’s an outsider’s story who fails to relate to other people or society in a wider sense, and who both revels in and despairs of this failure. It’s pretty good.
Untranslated though, which is why I should mention “Why We Took the Car” - Herrndorf’s later young adult novel, and the last one he finished before succumbing to a brain tumour. I just re-read that one for work, because I read it with a ninth class. It’s a really good YA readers novel.
German novelist Herrndorf makes his YA (and U.S.) debut with this action- and emotion-packed story of surprise summer adventure. When German eighth-grader Mike Klingenberg discovers that he’s among the few “Boring kids and losers… Russians, Nazis and idiots” who are not invited to his crush Tatiana’s birthday party, he is devastated. Mike is facing a miserable summer, with his mother in rehab and father away at a “business meeting” with his sexy assistant, when his new Russian classmate, Tschick (whom Mike considers “trash”), arrives at his house in a stolen car. An unlikely compatibility leads to a candy-fueled road trip, complicated by their lack of a map or cell phone. Driving all over Germany, the boys face conundrums like avoiding the police, buying gas and food when clearly underage, and vaguely seeking Tschick’s grandfather. Prepared by life to expect ill will, Mike and Tschick instead meet “almost only people from the one percent who weren’t bad.” Beginning at the end, with Mike narrating the explanation suggested by the title, this alternately wild, sad, hilarious, and tender tale chronicles the development of a strange and beautiful friendship.