Local Heroes is an extremely entertaining debut novel, in turn funny, revolting, tragic and thought-provoking. It leaves many unanswered questions but, as the prologue suggests, if you are the type of reader who is interested in more than is written, you should probably put down the book before starting it.
Rohleder tracks the lives of a group of teenage men in a small town in Southern Germany, as they knowingly or otherwise waste their lives and their opportunities, experiment with alcohol and drugs on a daily basis, and start, if at all, to think about their future. The action takes place primarily in darkened rooms and is set against the sharply-defined backdrop of the 1990s, reflecting the contemporary music scene and the focus on instant gratification and consumerism.
The novel skilfully reflects the interests, perspective and language of a young man going through his adolescence and teenage years and includes its own soundtrack in the song titles and lyrics that pepper the text. It is written with humour – both in terms of how the narrator sees events and the inherent comedy of the incidents themselves – and establishes the young author as a sparkling new talent to watch.