I bought this book as a part of the Popsugar 2016 reading challenge, as „the first book you see in a bookstore“. The beautiful cover of this German edition caught my eye immediately. The blurb also sounded interesting, and the comparison with Agatha Christie, whose works I love, made me really curious for the book.
Two things up front: the blurb gave me a very different impression of the story than the story I actually got, and I don’t see any resemblance with Agatha Christie (as, for example, there is no murder mystery at all).
Ariel and Zeva are teacher and student in Artificial Intelligence in Boston. Ariel is invited to speak at a conference in Amsterdam, and he and Zeva plan to spend a romantic weekend over there – far away from everyone they know. Zeva will travel via Brussels, Ariel will arrive in Amsterdam and pick up Zeva from the train – but Ariel never appears.
The story starts with Ariel in an old cab, driving to a hotel in the English country, somewhere really far from London. Due to the heavy mists, his connection flight from London to Amsterdam was cancelled, and all airport hotels were full, at least, that is what Ariel later recalls, when he asks himself if he was involved by the choice of hotel at all.
In his desperate attempts to reach Zeva (his mobile phone doesn’t have any signal in the hotel, nor does the landline work), Ariel soon finds himself in the companionship of a strange family that has been staying in the hotel for an unknown amount of time. The way they behave and the things they say appeared almost surreal to me. Ariel ends up in a whirling roller coaster of events and emotions that seem too bizarre to be true – and still he, with his academic, mathematic way of thinking, tries to find logical explanations for all of it.
I was grabbed by the story right away, and was fascinated by all of the unanswered questions the author leaves the reader with. For me, the amount of obscurity I was left in just balanced on the ledge to irritating.
Synchronous with the disappearing fog, things get clearer for Ariel – and the reader. The clue was unexpected, yet satisfying (“logical” in a way). A very nice, fresh read - unlike everything I've read so far!