A village with small box houses, villas, a tennis court, a water tank and a coal mine. For years, an accordionist and a boy have played music before the entrance to the mine, until a pit disaster forces the people to leave the village. A journey into uncertainty begins, during which the boy tells the story of his life: a miserable childhood, visions of a better future and the great love that must wait for him somewhere.
Schöne Freunde is a novel about saying good-bye to childhood, playful, sad and yet full of slapstick humour. There is the scurrilous world of the grown-ups and fat men, and of the "nice friends" who also want to grow up and dream of becoming tennis players, dancers and nose-bashers. In a very original, poetic language, Arno Geiger's novel, populated by hopeless fortune-seekers and people who accept their lives as a sequence of missed opportunities, tells of a world that is both dream and terrifying reality, "a house of cards built from memories, collapsing".