Sarah Jäger: Forwards, southwards

Nach vorn, nach Süden.
(Forwards, southwards)
Rowohlt Taschenbuchverlag 2020.

Duck ass. That is Lena’s uncharming nickname. She works in a Penny supermarket and hangs out with the other temporary workers Otto, Vika, Marie, Can, Marvin and Pavel in the rear courtyard. For a few months one of them has been absent: Jo. Because his (maybe ex) girlfriend Maria wants to find out where they stand, she decides to go looking for him. And because the only available car belongs to the narrator, the search troupe is made up, along with the outsider and Marie, of Can and Vika with her young daughter, Fine. Or is it because it was Jo who gave her that undesirable nickname? In a completely matter-of-fact manner Sarah Jäger drafts a picture of a small group of less-than-willing fellow-travellers who by necessity get to know each other better during their bizarre trip in the scorching hot month of July. The teens share long-held secrets, get on each other’s nerves, and have some surprising encounters. Hartmut El Kurdi, who reviewed the book for “Die Zeit”, sees the greatest quality of Sarah Jäger’s novel in the random diversity of her cast of characters. (Age: 14+)