Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Novel Paperback – August 9, 2011
|New from||Used from|
Digging Into Literature
Explore literary analysis with this featured resource from Macmillan.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed
"Innovative, addictive, bonkers and beautiful" —Jonathan Messinger, Time Out Chicago
"Writing to save your life—and your 1971 Volkswagen—is at the heart of this wildly imaginative debut... Readers are in for a fresh, memorable ride with this inventive 'collage of loss'" —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Strange and dazzling...Through all the insanity and dizzying leaps of logic that make up Boucher’s world are a series of absolutely human and recognizable truths." —Emily St. John Mandel, The Millions
"Accomplished, wrenching." —The Kenyon Review
"Boucher's first novel is one of the most original books you will read this year." —Roxane Gay, HTMLGiant
"Boucher is a deft mechanic...possessed of a special skill to diagnose malfunctioning language by ear, to hear where words are misaligned...." —Eamon, O'Connor, Full-Stop
"This is a head-tilting exercise in literary shape-shifting." —Identity Theory
"Boucher’s clever turns of phrase and his playfulness with words are also hallmarks of this oddball tale. And despite the wonkiness, the enchanting novelist keeps the plot well-oiled and in gear throughout." —Austen Diamond, Salt Lake City Weekly
"There is a fair amount of vulgar language used and taking the Lord’s name in vain. There are references to premarital sex, which the author calls 'faith or faithing.'" —The Deseret News (Salt Lake City)
“As moving as it is fun, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive is definitely the next book you should read.” —Adam Levin, author of The Instructions
"Christopher Boucher joins a now-forgotten handbook with Steven Wright's old joke about mistakenly sticking a car key in a house door and builds a new, exuberant novel-world. Goofiness and grief are in perfect harmony in this impressive, moving debut." —Sam Lipsyte, author of The Ask
"Boucher is our Brautigan. From an alchemy of melancholy and innocence, he coins beautiful malapropisms that overtake the dogged stretches of our language. A whimsy so charismatic you find yourself thinking and, yes, talking in Boucherisms." —Salvador Plascencia, author of The People of Paper
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Well, if you need to fix your car, this won't help you, even though it made me miss my old Beetle, and I'll admit that I flipped through eBay Motors for a few minutes, thinking, "maybe..." But, it's a funny, sad, strange novel that plays with words, time, the whole idea of narrative, and asks the reader to think seriously about what books are and why we read them. I thought it was worth the challenge, and I admire the work.
Christopher Boucher's first novel, "How to Keep Your Volkswagon Alive" is about a hapless nameless man and his son, a 1971 Volkswagon Beetle living in Northampton, MA. The language alone, the twisting of metaphor and meaning, is both HTKYVA's immense (surreal) gift and curse. Every page has some invention (money counted in time units), or some odd and wondrous character (The Heart Attack Tree, the Memory of my Father).
"The first sign of an old soldier I never knew, his beard a forest of dying snow."
I bought HTKYVA on the strength of Mr. Boucher's reading in Philadelphia. He read a phenomenal sequence about a toy war game and I was taken with its sly political overlay and how funny and clever it was. [Note that because I read a printed (signed!) copy of the book (instead of e-booking it as usual), I couldn't highlight the passages I loved. Luckily, there is enough awesomeness throughout that I could just pick out these phrases at random.]
"'A what?' the drum set said. His voice was smoky and cracked."
The chapters and sub headers follow an old famous (actual VW) manual (by the same name) but then HTKYVA departs radically from there. Sometimes, it seems Mr. Boucher is using these subdivisions to play out his considerable talent and create this alternate universe, and I found my attention wandering sometimes, because the plot and characters weren't always strong enough to pull it all together for me. That said, I loved the sheer inventiveness of the language and I'm more than looking forward to his next book.
Please turn your attention to "zen and the art of motorcycle maintainance" or "Roadster".
This is just utterly unreadable junk.
I'm impressed with the author's imagination and talents as a writer, overall.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Wonderful book for the patient reader! Each time I read this book I understand more and more about the plot and message. This book has layers, and truly is a delight.Published 3 months ago by Jill in Dunwoody, GA
Stupid, unimaginative. Try reading the Zen of Motorcycle maintenance, curb the wit and let the heart bleed in. There has to be some narrative structure to keep me reading.Published on December 25, 2013 by bob
Thank you for a great Bug book. I love my Bug and hope to enjoy it for many more years.Published on August 31, 2013 by 67Bugsy
Hate the fact that this book is labeled exactly the same as the original vw repair manual. I did not want to buy a fictional book. Read morePublished on August 26, 2013 by matt stewart
What kind of solipsistic walking diaper would straight up rip off the title of a successful and actually useful book just to sell his own nail-clippings of a novel? Read morePublished on July 11, 2012 by Max Rocket
Others seem to be in love with this book, but I spent a fair amount of time with it, only to grasp broad strokes. I didn't find it worth my money or the effort.Published on June 1, 2012 by Flintstone319