In this prizewinning postmodern novel, "you"?the second-person narrator?are a traveler on a night train bound for a series of fantastic occurrences.
"You" are a dancer. Always on the move for one reason or another, you travel to Paris, to Graz, to Zagreb, Belgrade, Beijing?wherever the night train takes you. Although your journey is beset by unexplained delays and transportation worker strikes, you have no choice but to keep on going, no matter how hard it seems to reach your destination. A whole host of strange and mysterious characters await you both on the train and off. Headed to Belgrade, you are made party to coffee smuggling; traveling to Beijing, you share a compartment with two prostitutes. You sit near a young couple on the way to Irkutsk; exasperated by their childish spats, you flee from your compartment and join a group of good-natured Russians for a round of vodka instead. Off the train, you are tailed by men seemingly after your belongings. On the train again, you spend fitful moments in dream-filled slumber. You fall from the train. What will happen to you now? Is Mimi the actress a real person, or only a figment of your imagination? On the way to Hamburg, you discover that the women sitting in front of you have turned into hydrangeas and azaleas. And so you journey on.