Andrea Maceiras has studied Galician and Spanish philology, and holds a PhD from Coruña University. She has published several children’s and young adult novels: Project Butterfly (2007) about a mathematician who sets out to verify the butterfly effect; Tamurana Violet (2010) about an island whose inhabitants are coloured violet; The Secret of the Ocellated Lizard (2012) about a boy who returns to the village; Clouds of Evolution (2013) about three people who meet in a bus station; You’ll Come Back, Dolphin (2014) about a girl who visits the Death Coast in Galicia with her family; My Dear Scheherazade (2014) about a book with one story left to tell; and Europe Express (2015) about some teenagers who go interrailing, awarded the Jules Verne Prize for young adult fiction.
Photograph © Érica Esmorís
EUROPE EXPRESS synopsis
Europe Express (216 pages), published in 2015, is a novel about seven teenagers who go interrailing after secondary school and was awarded the prestigious Jules Verne Prize for young adult fiction.
Only when I got to the hotel and observed the postcard under the magnifying glass was I fully aware of everything. Of the fact that what’s happening is the greatest coincidence or most unbelievable stroke of destiny in my life and necessarily has to mean something. I can’t stop gazing at this postcard, although, every time I look, a new shiver runs down my spine. I visited this city when I was still a teenager, but how could I ever have imagined I’d be here again ten years later? And how could I ever have thought I’d find them again, my old school friends, in a postcard? That summer we spent travelling around Europe was amazing, but it all ended in tragedy. At that time, winter entered our lives and never left. We barely kept in touch.
This was the reason that coming back to the small Norwegian city of Bergen was an attractive proposition from the start. As soon as I finished the work that had brought me to this place, I decided to go for a walk along the snowy quays of Bryggen, which was still the same as I remembered it: the same orange and maroon houses, old fish warehouses that have now been turned into local businesses aimed at tourism. I entered one of those souvenir shops and bought a few postcards, as I tend to do when I’m travelling. I’ve collected postcards for several years now: both those I buy in cities I visit, and those that friends send me. I love these images of places I’ll probably never visit again, which have been frozen in time.
It was when I came out of the shop that I realized there was something strange in one of the postcards. There was nothing that unusual about the photograph itself: it showed the quays of Bryggen, the place where I was, on a summer’s afternoon, when the wharf was crowded with tourists. But, in amongst the hordes of people, I spotted a blue and white T-shirt that drew my attention. It was very similar to one I knew quite well but, to begin with, I refused to believe in such an extraordinary coincidence.