We are introduced at once to Christine and Valerie as they sit in their office, working together in their travel business in Hamburg, "The gateway to the world". This was instantly familiar to me, as so much of the storytelling reminded me of my German wife's speech patterns, or especially, those of her friends who are also German. Ideas and actions were sometimes described in an unusual manner, oddly stilted or overly simplistic. That sounds kind of mean, faulting the author or the translator or both. I don't "mean to be mean". My reaction is probably based on my connection to English/German as a second language.
Anyway the story begins with our narrator Christine in the present day describing her nervousness about meeting a woman she believes is "the one" at the local coffee shop. She has met her before but as of yet they have not spoken to each other. This is ironic because her friend Val has always been the silly romantic believing in true love and cosmic connections. Christine has always been quite earthbound on the matter.
She is earthbound and grounded until she spots this woman in her favorite nightclub and feels the lightning bolt of love, cupid's arrow or... the tractor beam from Star Trek. This mystery woman! She is the one! Christine can feel it, but she is robbed of making an introduction and spends most of the story trying to find this woman again. I wish there had been more teases, such as seeing the woman on the other escalator at the local Kaufhaus
, behind a S-Bahn/tram's window leaving the city center stop, and/or just have more German stuff. Embrace the city. Have some eel soup.
It was kind of cute the way the chase was described, this pursuit, the angst, as this mystery woman also visits the same coffee shop on a set day, but some barrier is always in the way. When Christine finally does meet this mystery woman, it is anti-climactic
. I wished there had been a heart wrenching moment, a depth of feeling when they finally meet, an affirmation of the supernatural attraction, as in the way this emotional dam breaking was depicted in the film "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain"/"Amelie". Where the reader/viewer is drawn into the intensity of emotions and feels a part of them somehow.
This was a pleasant read and perhaps I am overstepping my bounds, feeling like a literary critic this morning.