THE SLOW TRAIN TO MILAN by Lisa St. Aubin de Teran


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Lisaveta, a 16-year-old English girl, is quite easily seduced by an older (35-ish) Venezuelan whom she meets in London, CÉsar. And throwing her lot in with CÉsar (which she quickly does without much parental interference) means that Lisaveta must also take on the company of Otto and Eliás, his friends and roommates. Moreover, as Lisaveta soon learns, Otto and Eliás are pursued terrorists. CÉsar takes her promptly off to Italy, where the quartet lives on shoplifted food, false identity papers--and a succession of ""slow"" local trains that bear the four from one penurious, sub-rosa situation to another. High style is never abjured, however: the three South Americans have expensive tastes (Mercedes automobiles, for instance), which are satisfied through shadowy contacts and the largesse of any strangers they can charm. Still, despite poverty, lack of privacy, and serious illness (a kidney rupture), Lisaveta faithfully hangs on--implausibly. True, the three terrorists ultimately seem to terrorize themselves more than others; and they're faintly entertaining--especially in contrast to the infamous, fearsome Carlos. But why Lisaveta can stay with them for more than a day remains ethically and psychologically unexplored, unconvincing. And the upshot is a larky, peripatetic tour--from Milan to Bologna to Venice to Florence to Rome--but one without point or power.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1984
Publisher: Harper & Row