Train Can’t Bring Me Home

Love. Literature… and Tom Waits. Lots of Tom Waits.

1993. The former eastern bloc is open for business and a war is raging just over the border, but in a Hungarian campus town, a group of students and exiles escape into love and literature.

Dylan, a washed up American lecturer with a Tom Waits fixation, has an affair with Erzsi, his vivacious teenage Hungarian student, and a mixed group of students and teachers spend a crazy spring falling in love with their town and each other, their affair transforming everyone around them and turning the entire town into a magical place.

A postmodern campus novel that explores the limits of love, literature and language, Train Can’t Bring Me Home is a dizzying, intellectual, comic, erotic clash of discourses that mimics a host of literary styles, from bad travel writing to music journalism to a relationship break-up written as a student essay, with an array of pastiches of literary greats like Joyce, Amis, BS Johnson, Calvino, Kundera, Bukowski, Burroughs, Beckett, Stoker, Nabokov, Marquez and more.

Read about the writing of this book here: The book of love – the postmodern campus novel 18 years in the making.

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Reader comments

“Very impressive, clever, brilliant even…” — Liz Calder

“I just finished your book on the train and quietly cried my eyes out…”

“I was very excited to read this book. I love Tom Waits, have spent time in Hungary and like post-modern British lit. The story keeps your attention and is emotionally gripping. Here comes the but, the author gets too clever for himself. He writes some chapters in different literary styles, one seems to be done in the style of Vonnegut and another in the style of lit. crit. (footnotes and all). This may win points with literary grad students, but to me, it was distracting and almost ruined a beautiful story. That being said, the book was good enough to get me to read another by the author which was much better. If you have ever lived away from your home and felt as if you were living someone else’s life, this is worth reading.”


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