Dystopian novel set in SOUTH EAST FRANCE
Not Cool: Europe by Train in a Heatwave
Era(s): Contemporary 2019
9 cities, 9 countries, 9 days
1 ridiculously hot summer
What could possibly go wrong?
The latest travel memoir by Jules Brown – author of Takoradi to the Stars (via Huddersfield) – is a hot and steamy adventure (no, not that kind) by rail across Europe.
In the European-wide summer heatwave of July 2019, while sensible people stayed indoors, put their heads in the fridge and watched endless re-runs of ‘Frozen’, Jules spent nine days on trains across Europe, visiting nine cities in nine countries.
Why? Good question.
It started off, as most of his ideas do, with a spark of inspiration fuelled by a glass of red wine. Another glass made him think it really was quite a good plan, and by the third glass he had a full itinerary worked up.
If only he’d checked the advance weather forecast, he would have seen that Europe in general, and central Europe in particular, was just about to be engulfed in the mother of all heatwaves. Relentless travel across Europe, jumping from one tin can on rails to another, was going to be decidedly not cool. But Jules lives in England where a heatwave is what they call it when you have to take your jumper off in July, so it honestly never occurred to him that it would be so hot. That bit’s all on Jules. Definitely his fault.
Everything else that happened? Well, that’s up to you to decide.
Oh, one more thing. Jules made this trip before Brexit and Covid and – depending on how far in the future you’re reading – while the planet still had its ice-caps and own water supply. So if any of its reads oddly – like, why hasn’t he got a mask on, how come they let him into Germany, what’s oxygen, that sort of thing – that’s why.
Just roll with it. Like all the best stories, you need to suspend your disbelief.
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