Synopses & Reviews
A hilarious radical debut novel that breaks every rule—yet also spins a tender, bittersweet tale about a single dad struggling to raise his son
If you think raising a kid in today’s world is hard, imagine how tough it would be if your child also happened to be a Volkswagen Beetle. And not a modern Beetle at that, but a 1960S-era Bug who tended to forget himself racing joyously and heedlessly down the highway, only to break down on the side of the road, puking oil. It’s enough to help a man cope with the recent death of his father, and focus on the dizzying, beautiful here and now of his fragile child.
Welcome to Christopher Boucher’s zany and brilliant literary universe, a place where metaphors shift beneath your feet, familiar words suddenly assume new meaning, tools talk, trees walk, and where time is actually money.
Modeled on the bestselling 1969 hippie handbook of the same title, this wildly inventive tale is both a stunning tour-de-force and a wise and charming consideration of the stuff of great fiction: death, love, loss, responsibility, and road trips.
With the hyperkinetic spark of George Saunders and the surrealist humanism of Aimee Bender, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive marks the arrival of a fiction-making Mozart.
It’s hard being a single-dad raising a son—especially if your kid is also a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle
There’s nothing more troubling than having your child break down on the side of the road, leaking oil, overheating, and asking tough questions like, “What is death?” and “Why did Mom leave?”
But stay calm!
Because How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive is not only a dizzyingly beautiful novel, it’s also a handy manual with useful chapters on “Tools and Spare Parts,” “Valve Adjustment,” “How To Read This Novel,” and, most important of all, “How Works a Heart.”
Welcome to Christopher Boucher’s zany literary universe, a place where metaphors shift beneath your feet, familiar words assume new meanings, objects talk, trees attack, and time actually is money. Modeled on the cult classic 1969 hippie handbook of the same name, How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive is an astonishing tour-de-force that tackles some of life’s biggest questions: How do you cope with losing a parent? What’s the secret to raising a child? How do you keep love alive? How do you get your car to start?
About the Author
Christopher Boucher received his MFA in Fiction from Syracuse University, where he studied with George Saunders and Junot Díaz. Before moving to Syracuse, he worked as the Arts and Entertainment Writer for The Daily Hampshire Gazette, and drove (when it started) a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle. He currently teaches writing and literature at Boston College, and is the managing editor of Post Road Magazine. In his free time, he plays banjo in a bluegrass band.