Ten years ago the author Wolfgang Herrndorf died at the age of only 48 on a canal in Berlin-Wedding – 13 years ago his road novel “Tschick” was published about two boys who experience adventures in East Germany in a stolen Lada during the summer holidays.

“With more than 3.7 million copies sold”, “Tschick” is one of the most successful novels in Germany, the publishing house Rowohlt Berlin announced at the request of the German Press Agency. The first biography of the writer and artist Herrndorf has now been presented by the “Frankfurter Allgemeine” editor Tobias Rüther.

“”Tschick” has been translated into almost forty languages ​​and, with well over a hundred productions, is one of the most frequently performed plays on German-speaking theater stages,” explains Rowohlt. In paperback, “Tschick” is the best-selling novel in Germany in the last ten years and the 98th edition is currently available.

Herrndorf, who was already terminally ill when he finished writing the book in the summer of 2010, became immortal with this novel. On August 26, 2013, he took his own life in a previously selected place on the Berlin-Spandau shipping canal. At the suspected suicide site not far from the Plötzensee lido, there is now an inconspicuous metal cross as a memorial.

First biography

Tobias Rüther, who is featured in the feuilleton of “FAS.” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung) is responsible for the literature department, has received many positive reviews for his meticulous biography “Herrndorf” in recent days.

The publisher Rowohlt Berlin says that Rüther followed Herrndorf from childhood in Norderstedt near Hamburg to studying art in Nuremberg to Berlin – and right up to the last few years with the brain tumor, in which the novel “Images of Your Great Love” and the Blog “Work and Structure” was created.

Dramaturg Robert Koall, a friend of Herrndorf’s, has now adapted “Work and Structure” for the stage. The premiere is on September 9th at the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus.

The content of “Tchick”

Herrndorf’s biggest hit “Tschick” is a laconic hymn to the here and now, to being on the move, to friendship and being open to strangers. The book about two outsiders and runaways conquered theaters, cinema (director: Fatih Akin) and German classes.

Without a plan, the two boys – first-person narrator Maik (14) and classmate Andrej Tschikachev from Russia, whom everyone just calls Tschick – set off in the direction of “Walachia”. But the duo from Berlin quickly got stuck in the countryside. The boys end up in strange places. They are invited to lunch with a strange Risi-Pisi family, where dessert is only available if a quiz question is answered. They also meet the homeless Isa at a garbage dump. In the end, an accident happens and there is all sorts of trouble.

Herrndorf has Maik say that everyone always said the world and people were bad. But Maik sums it up: “… maybe that was true, and 99 percent of people were bad. But the strange thing was that on our trip Tschick and I almost exclusively met the one percent that wasn’t bad.”