Berlin to Munich, ten hours, four changes. Four strangers meet to ride together, a special discount ticket, and so begins a journey both carefully planned and fully unexpected.
Chiang Chang-Ching has been living in Germany for nine years, the eternal student. He is the one to place the original advert, a search for companions, a young man meticulous in his consideration of all options. Christine is a retired music teacher who never puts down her book, the whole journey. She prefers to read words, rather than exchange them with others. Michael hails from the former East Germany, his heart as big as his rotund form, retired from mending the minds of others. Stony silence is not part of his plan for this trip. Anna-Marie is a local university student. No news is bigger than the updates posted by friends on social media.
Conversation comes and goes. Things are said that make some roll their eyes. But by the time the train glides into their final station, four strangers are reluctant to part ways. What happened on that train ride to change an arrangement of convenience into a lasting bond?
After hearing a friend describe just such an experience of ride-sharing with strangers, Tsou Yung-Shan’s interest was piqued. The idea wouldn’t leave her, and so she turned her characteristically precise and restrained prose to one of life’s small moments, the seemingly insignificant situations we can all find ourselves in that has the power to change our lives. Designing every detail in the book’s production, from the words to the binding and cover, this is not just a novel, but an artwork that makes physical the sometimes mysterious movings of the human heart.