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Volkswagen Blues

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3.44 of 5 stars 3.44  ·  rating details  ·  820 ratings  ·  52 reviews
A 2005 Canada Reads Selection In this classic road novel, Jacques Poulin tells the story of a man in search of his brother. The geographical journey
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 15th 2004 by Cormorant Books (first published 1984)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,378)
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Anne-Gigi  Chan

A 40-year-old French-Canadian writer from Montreal set out to find his long lost brother, whom he had not seen for 20 years. The only trace he had was a 15-year-old postcard from a small town in Quebec. At the beginning of his quest, he picked up a hitchhiker, a young Métis girl. Together, driving an old Volkswagen minivan, they traced the footsteps of the French explorers from the St. Lawrence to St. Louis, Missouri and then headed west along the Oregon Trail. This turned out to be a journey of
...more
Jocelyn
Le livre est d'une longueur et d'une platitude inconcevables, les personnages ne sont pas attachants et enfantins, et l'écriture est nulle. Jacques Poulin aura tout de même eu le mérite de m'intéresser à l'émigration vers l'ouest des pionniers américains mais jamais je n'aurais fais ce voyage (Gaspé - San Francisco) en compagnie de ses deux personnages car j'aurais sans doute débarqué à peine rendu à Toronto pour ramasser une autre voiture en stop ou tout simplement retourner à la maison et de l ...more
Karine Mon coin lecture
4,5 en fait.
Ce roman donne le goût de partir en road trip au bout du monde pour se trouver soi-même. J'ai adoré.
Brodie Hay
Volkswagen Blues Review
By: Brodie Hay

Have you ever made a decision to find something that has been lost for what feels like an eternity, and just spent a day or however long it took just to find the lost item? In the novel Volkswagen Blues by Jacques Poulin, The forty year old protagonist with the pen name Jack Watermark experiences a bout of writer's block so he sets out on a journey to find his brother who has been gone for twenty years. All Jack has to find his brother is a fifteen year old
...more
Vontel
I recently discovered this author, with his book "Autumn Rounds", a delightful book, and am now trying to read as many of his translated works as I can. "Volkswagon Blues" is excellent, both in its' character development, the plot, and the way French exploration and aboriginal history are incorporated along with Canadian and US history and landmarks from that era forward.

I really enjoyed the book. It is again an interesting story about people and relationships. In this case, a Quebec writer, Ja
...more
Rachel Baker
L'écrivain de la douceur: Poulin is aptly named. I enjoyed this book tremendously. His words are beautifully chosen. As Pitsémine says, one word is worth a thousand pictures.

While this is a road novel about crossing the continent in search of Jack's brother, the text focuses on how people, since the days of the Oregon Trail, have occupied the country.

Definitely invites a third reading :)

Just finished a third reading. This is a rich text, nuanced and delicate.
Heather Judson
I read this book for second year a Canadian Lit class. It's more than just a road trip novel, it's a journey of self discovery, and also of Native American history, while also critiquing the American Dream. It's multi-layered. Even if you're not into close reading or analysis, it's a wonderfully quirky story if you're into that sort of thing.
Amber
Aug 18, 2007 Amber rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people with interest in roadtrips or canadian history
this book was really sweet and fun to read. not particularly challenging but exciting in that it is relaxing and you learn a lot about canadian history.
Andrea
Very nice...the charaters were rich and strange. I enjoyed the journey more than the conclusion I think, but then again, I need to ruminate for a bit.
L Jung
Eh, it was in French.. who knows what it was about! It introduced the great Yves Montand to me though. For this, I am forever grateful.
Fiona
What a refreshing story... Two characters, randomness, a quest... This book is so full of love, simple love, but also history, hurt, disappointment and anger, too. I just love this kind of books, because even though the story seems so peculiar and maybe, in a way, unrealistic, it really is about life, in the end.
I just couldn't stop reading, I felt like I knew both main characters, even though not many specific details are given about them. We don't know their full names, we don't know their age
...more
Catherine
Ce roman, c'est Jack, un écrivain qui se cherche et qui manque d'inspiration, la Grande Sauterelle, une Métisse qui ne sait plus trop où elle en ait, vous et le vieux Volks. Vous partez de la Gaspésie jusqu'à San Fransisco en passant par la « Oregon Trail » à la recherche du frère de Jack avec pour seul indice une carte postale représentant un texte de Jacques Cartier rédigé en vieux français envoyée par le frère de Jack vingt ans plus tôt. Cette carte, c'est le dernier signe de vie que son frèr ...more
Jesus of Suburbia
I still dont get why jack and la grande sauterelle didnt have sex. Seriously this book sucked balls except for those moments when they made some references to Montreal and Quebec city, Toronto, Kitchenette and etc. Also the stories about indians were pretty cool, but the overall plot, writing style, and interactions among characters were fake and unconvincig. Recommended for Quebecois.
Olga
A road journey looking for traces of personal and ethnic bonds leads the reader from Québec to "City Lights" bookstore in San Francisco, following intuitive and accidental detours, hopping on literary and historical landmarks. Intense and light at the same time, it weaves in a great deal of intertextual references.
Catherine Doucet
C'est un livre qui permet de passer un moment de lecture agréable. J'ai fait un "road trip" aux États-Unis pendant cette lecture et cela m'a donné le goût d'en faire un réellement. L'écriture est simple et permet de relaxer et de prendre du bon temps.
Donna
QUOTE:

“…’What do you write?’

“ ‘Novels,’ said Jack.

“ ‘What kind of novels?’

“ It was the standard question, and he’d never been able to come up with a satisfactory answer. How many kinds of novels were there? What category did his belong to? To answer these questions he would have had to be able to state the main subject of his novels….And that he could not do, for the simple reason that, for him, writing was not a means of expression or communication but rather a form of exploration. Each of his
...more
Jarmil Dufek
Roadmovie kanadského spisovatele s indiánskou míšenkou napříč Spojenými státy Oregonskou stezkou.Vlastivědná a kulturní(víceméně frankofonní)cesta trochu dřevnatým jazykem,(možná překlad), takový bedekr.
Erma Odrach
Volkswagen Blues is by French-Canadian author Jacques Poulin. It's a road book that starts in the Gaspé (one of my favorite places in Canada), and after passing through Toronto, Chicago, St. Louis and more, it ends in San Francisco. Main character Jack Waterman is in search of his long-lost brother Théo, and at the beginning of the book picks up a young Métis hitchiker and her cat Chop Suey. Together they embark on their long trek, along the way exploring history and the plight of the native tri ...more
Mike Norton
(I read this novel in French, but I write now in English.) This is a road-trip story that combines traditional elements of that genre with mini-lessons in Canadian and North America history. The novel starts strongly, but ends weakly. Strong characters, and an appealing plot with a hint of mystery give way to ever more over-bearing history lessons and a truly anti-climactic ending. Still, it is not a bad light read. And for anyone practicing French as a second language it is highly recommended a ...more
Czarny Pies
Je suis né dans la region de Thunder Bay non loin de l'Etat de Minnesota. À sept ans, j'ai été très content de traverser la frontiere américaine et de tomber tout de suite sur les villes avec des noms francais: Grand Portage, Grand Marais, et Duluth. Bon, on est d'accord que l'on aime trouver des vestiges de notre histoire un peu par tout en Amérique mais Jacques Poulin va trop loin quand il essaie de construire un roman entier à partir d'un telle experience d'enfant.

Heureusement Jacques Poulin
...more
Marley
One of my favourites, read it in university and I always come back to it.
Ana
Really good book. A story about a road trip, adventure, a man and a woman and the cruel truth.
Lorraine Cashemire
C'était bon et simpliste
Dominique Zuniga
I loved everything but the ending which bumped it down to four stars.
GregCarey10
Great Book! It is essentially a french canadian man's search for his lost brother, along with his native female sidekick. The pair traverse the united states, exploring the country much like the early french settlers did, following the oregon trail, and finally ending up in California. Each chapter has a significant story told in it, a way of passing the time while on the road. It is a road trip novel, very similar to Jack Kerouac's On the Road. I recommend this book to everyone. Really easy rea ...more
Dessa
Canada Reads said this was a good book.
It lied.
Kim
This is the type of story that I make up in my head all the time: travelling across a continent (in this case North America) on the search for something important (his brother) and being a free-spirit who's good at mechanical stuff (La Grande Sauterelle). However, these stories are usually much better in my head than they are on paper and this is one of those stories. Also, I get the feeling it would be better in French. I feel like I'm missing out on something.
Sandrine
J'ai tout simplement ADORÉ! En amour avec ce livre.
Adrien
La chose un peu dérangeante dans ce roman est cette grande naïveté d'expression dont on n'est pas sûr qu'elle soit délibérée.



Cela dit, ça donne envie de partir sur la route.

(Cela dit, quel roman de route américain n'en donne pas envie?)
Rebekah
Apr 06, 2009 Rebekah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who speaks French
Shelves: own-it
I read this in French, my first of many French novels I hope. It was great, simple yet interesting writing style; intriguing plot too. For anyone looking to improve/ practice their French reading skills and vocabulary without killing yourself, this is a delightful book.
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Why is this book not an ebook? 2 9 Sep 08, 2013 10:39AM  
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