Volkswagen Blues

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Volkswagen Blues is a novel by French-Canadian writer Jacques Poulin. Volkswagen Blues was published in French in 1984; it was translated into English by Sheila Fischman and published by McClelland & Stewart in 1988 and subsequently re-issued by Cormorant Books in 2002.

Volkswagen Blues was nominated for the Governor General's Award in 1984 and was one of the selected novels in the 2005 edition of Canada Reads, where it was championed by author and former National Librarian of Canada, Roch Carrier.

Volkswagen Blues is a road novel, in the tradition of Jack Kerouac, about a writer who has adopted the pen-name Jack Waterman (and, as the story begins, is experiencing a bout of writer's block) and his search for his long-lost rambling brother, Théo. Early on, Jack picks up a hitchhiker, a young Métis woman, nicknamed "La Grande Sauterelle" (because of her long, grasshopper-like legs) and her cat, Chop Suey.

Together in Jack's Volkswagen Minibus, they embark on a journey from Gaspé to San Francisco, passing through Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and the American West on their way, exploring the history of European contact with the native people of the Americas. While on the road, they discuss language, literature, American expansion, the Oregon Trail, etc., and their trip becomes a metaphor for the history of the French exploration of North America. At the same time, La Grande Sauterelle, who is struggling with her own identity, presents another version of...
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