After posting about this cool contest offering two lucky winners InterRail tickets to travel all over Europe, I figured I should probably go ahead and actually read the book based on the book of the same name : InterRail by Alessandro Gallenzi. I received my copy last week on Thursday so I decided to take it with us to the seaside for the weekend and lose myself in the adventures of a young Italian man traveling Europe when the lire currency still existed and Italian men still lived at home (oh wait …that hasn’t changed).
The book’s description:
When Francesco decides to embark on his first trip outside his native Italy, he leaves behind a difficult relationship with his father, the narrow vistas of a small provincial town and the stifling atmosphere of a country he feels has become degraded. All he brings with him are a change of clothes, a map of Europe and the desire to discover new places, new people and, perhaps, a new life. But a chance encounter in Munich takes him off course, on an incredible journey that will see him fall in love in Sweden, lose all his money in Amsterdam, pan-handle in the streets of London, win big in Monte Carlo and get caught up in an international imbroglio.
It was most definitely a quick read, only 250 pages and perfect for a weekend “escape”. I enjoyed it much more than I thought it would – to be honest, I have read many travel books while living in Italy and at the first hint of the protagonist’s arrogance or if I sense that they actually believe they are the first to have seen, done, traveled to whatever given destination – I tend to get turned off.
Instead this was a light-hearted fun adventure that I would recommend to anyone who ever thought about “getting lost” in another country – albeit for a short period.
Some of the plot was a little cliche, the con-artist’s name “Pierre” just seemed picked out of a book for con-artist names and Francesco seemed to have lucked out with money-accomodation-and girls more than I would imagine a guy in his situation would. But at least he came out relatively unscathed and remained true to himself, which won me over. The fact that he gets himself embroiled in this strange plot with this fancy-named Pierre is when the literary fiction really comes out but don’t we all wish we could be entangled in someone else’s interesting life story, if even for a minute? Especially if it involves seven-course meals and unbelievable luck at Monte Carlo’s famous casinos. Of course there exists a love story within it all, and one of the characters mentioned I felt could have played a bigger role in the book but hey, you can’t have it all.
I would suggest adding this book to your 2012 summer reading list and before the contest ends, why not take a chance and participate? Then you too could be taking the train to your next adventure, like Francesco. Just don’t don’t take Trenitalia regionale, they suck.