Set on a mysterious luxury train, this is a high velocity, surreal romp of a story. Journeying with non-honeymooners Xavier and Otto, the reader accumulates a bizarre collection of playful, dark and strange backstories. Reality, sanity and perception come into question as connections between the characters emerge. Prepare for the unexpected: for ancestral pet mongooses, paintings that can’t be seen but can be described and an invisible son.
Xavier was chef for the morning; we’d flipped a coin. We walked into the pantry car, and eggshells crunched beneath our feet. The yolks and whites ran down the window in viscous stripes. A loaf of brioche sat in a pot on the hob, submerged in milk and sprinkled with violet leaves. The butter dish was in the sink. The stub of butter left in there had been thoroughly licked; tongue marks aside, you could tell from its foamy veneer of spit. There was maple syrup all over the place; it had been rubbed and drizzled over every drawer and cupboard handle, mixed with butter for additional slip. This was bespoke vandalism, a project completed by somebody who’d known we’d want French toast in the morning and gone out of their way to incorporate every ingredient we’d need. Mind you, all the ingredients had been gifts from our host in the first place. A case of Ava giveth and Ava taketh away?