Fritz Bergundthal, a railway enthusiast from Berlin and a fit, fifty-year-old bachelor, has traveled to the site of the world’s longest tunnel in Switzerland to take some spectacular photos of beautiful trains. However, in the course of a single day, we see him become increasingly entangled in the complicated relationships between the workers at the construction site of the Gotthard Base Tunnel.
Among them are the still fetching yet sharply aging Dora Polli-Müller and her tomboy daughter Flavia, the slender Robert Filz with his obsessive love for the Brazilian prostitute Mônica, and Aldo Polli and Tonino, who are trapped in a strange, tense codependency. A decidedly bad omen is that the statue of Saint Barbara, patron saint of tunnel builders, has been stolen: A guarantee to bring terrible consequences throughout the day. Dark and funny, erotic and refined, Zora del Buono’s novella presents a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the tunnel workers, their literally hot working environment, and all the skeletons in their closets.
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