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Tschick

In his novel »Tschick«, published in 2010, Wolfgang Herrndorf tells the story of two fourteen-year-olds from Berlin who drive through the eastern German provinces in a stolen Lada. The action takes place in the present during the summer holidays and is told from the perspective of Maik Klingenberg, one of the two protagonists.


The outsider Maik is in eighth grade and thinks he's boring. He is in love with Tatiana, who doesn't pay any attention to him. Maik lives in a villa in Marzahn with his alcoholic mother and his failed father.

Tschick, whose real name is Andrei Tschichatschow, is also a side in the class. He came from Russia with his brother four years ago. Despite his headstrong and inappropriate behavior, he made it from special school to high school.

When the summer vacation begins, Maik's mother goes on rehab and his father goes away with his secretary. While Maik looks after the house alone, Tschick shows up with a stolen Lada. Maik Tschick hesitantly follows up with the idea of ​​driving to Wallachia, where supposedly his unusual grandfather lives.

They take food and a tent, but no cell phones. They head south without a map or compass. On the second day, Maik learns to short-circuit a car and Tschick teaches him to drive. In a parking lot they swap the number plates of the Lada for others, then hide their car in the bushes and hike to a viewing platform. They spend the night in the open air, looking at the stars and philosophizing about extraterrestrial life.

In one village they are invited to dinner by a friendly family in their house. On the way back to the car, Maik runs into the village policeman. Tschick escapes with the Lada, and Maik makes off on the policeman's bike. As a camouflage, Tschick paints the light blue Lada black during the day. Both assume the other is on the viewing platform and find themselves there at the end of the day.

Because they would attract attention at a gas station, they search a garbage dump for a hose to suck in gasoline from someone else's car tank. There they meet Isa, who seems to live in the garbage. Isa helps the boys and joins them. You bathe in a mountain lake and spend the night there. Maik begins to fall in love with Isa when she goes head over heels for a better ride.

In order to evade a police check, Tschick steers the car across country into a deserted open-cast mining area. In a long-abandoned village they meet Horst Fricke, who first shoots them and then asks them into his house, where he talks about his war experiences in Russia, about love and the finitude of everything.

When they notice a little later that the police are on their heels, Tschick rushes down an embankment in the direction of the motorway. Although the Lada rolled over several times, the boys were able to free themselves unharmed. However, a woman rushing to help drops the fire extinguisher she had brought on Tschick's foot. The sympathetic speech therapist drives them to the nearby hospital. Tschick gets a cast and crutches.

Nevertheless, they manage to escape from the hospital and get the damaged Lada afloat. Maik takes the helm. The next day there was an accident on the autobahn with a transverse truck that Maik hit despite emergency braking. Tschick escapes, and only Maik is taken to the police station, which brings the novel to its starting point.

In the final part, his father demands from Maik that he should put all the blame on Tschick in court. Maik refuses despite a heavy beating. Tschick is now housed in a home. In court, the friends fall into each other's arms and exonerate each other. Both receive a penalty.

Tatjana suddenly shows interest in Maik after the holidays, and Isa suggests seeing them again. His mother turns to him lovingly, and Maik makes peace with her illness. For him, it's the best summer of all.


In 2011, Tschick was awarded the Youth Literature Prize. It is a touching novel about growing up, about longing and the uncertain search for love and friendship. It is a book that encourages you to trust: yourself and the good in others. The author treats existential topics in a cheeky language so that the book appeals to both young and adult readers.