Overnight to Innsbruck

By: Denyse Woods

Rated 4.60 out of 5 based on 5 customer ratings
(5 customer reviews)


On an overnight train to Innsbruck, ex-lovers Richard and Frances meet each other by chance many years after their mysterious separation on a train journey through the blistering heat and vast empty expanses of the Sudanese desert. As they each tell their separate stories of fear, confusion and loss, they try to unravel the truth of what happened – and confront the bitter possibility that one of them may be lying.

As their train hurtles through a long sleepless night, a third passenger eavesdrops on their conversation, mesmerized by a complex dialogue that probes into the very nature of truth and personal identity. A story of love and doubt, Overnight to Innsbruck is charged throughout with tantalizing puzzles and all the tension of a first-class psychological thriller – and marks the debut of a remarkably fresh and original voice in Irish literature.

DENYSE WOODS was born in Boston, USA, in 1958. She has travelled extensively, living in the USA, Belgium, Australia, Italy, Iraq and England, before returning to settle in Ireland in 1987. She obtained a BA in Arabic and English in 1981, and subsequently worked as a translator for PARC Management Services in Iraq, where she shared a terrace with Saddam Hussein. In 1988 she won the Irish Times Short Story Competition. She now lives in County Cork with her husband and two daughters.

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5 reviews for Overnight to Innsbruck

  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Lilliput Press

    “I bought this book after reading Denyse Woods winning entry for the Key West Flash Fiction contest and am so happy to be introduced to this wonderful writer.

    This is an unlikely tale which could never be set in the modern world. Incredible how much change has occurred technologically where it is now possible to track anyone anywhere unless they are masterminds of stealth.

    A tale of love and insecurities, lovers Richard and Frances become separated on a crowded train through the arid and impossible expanse of the Sudanese desert. Years later, they meet up on an overnight train to Innsbruck. Each blames the other for disappearance/desertion and have opposite takes on what happened, why and who is to blame. Someone has to be lying, but which one, and why?

    Woods explores the nature of doubt through the point of view of an eavesdropper to their conversation. Shrouded in suspicion, pride and puzzlement, their conversation filters experience through the labyrinth of personality and terror of abandonment. A very moving tale of longing that could easily have gone off the rails, but instead offered some fresh psychological insights in a weirdly believable tale. If you enjoy colorful and original setting, great dialogue and a sultry unfolding, this is a must read.” JESSICA

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Lilliput Press

    “This is a compelling and intelligent book. It tells the story of a couple who accidentally separate on a train journey and meet again on another journey years later. It is an insightful account of relationships – how they grow and end, the misunderstandings and failures of communication that can arise on the way.”

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    Lilliput Press

    “Overnight to Innsbruck achieves a marvelous balance between being a compelling story and a well-crafted book. It is a classic “couldn’t put it down” tale. Additionally, it goes beyond story-telling by rewarding the reader with well-researched and crisp mini-portraits of the Sudan and Egypt. For readers who love a good novel but won’t put their brains on a shelf for the sake of a zippy story. Great summer beach read.” JULES PIERI

  4. Rated 3 out of 5

    Lilliput Press

    “The situation is a familiar one, eavesdropping on fellow passengers in a railway carriage, but the conversation overheard is far more compelling than anything I’ve ever strained my ears to hear. Richard and Frances have met again by chance on this train, four years after losing eachother on a train in the Nubian desert, and they each tell the story of what happened to them. Absolutely enthralling writing, characters so precisely drawn you’ve probably met them on your travels and two tales so gripping you will be returning to passages trying to discover how they missed eachother.
    Apart from Richard and Frances, the main characters are Time and Place. Time plays the kind of tricks we all know it can play, and the sense of place is so strong you will need a glass of water beside you for the desert scenes.
    Find the right time and place, pour yourself a long, cold drink and just enjoy this book.”

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Lilliput Press

    “This story had me hooked from the very first few pages. Richard and Frances are lovers travelling together by train through the Sudan. Frances wakes up to find that Richard has disappeared. It takes four years for the story to emerge of what really did happen that night.

    This was a truly compelling tale of fate and destiny. In a split second during that train journey, Richard and Frances’s lives were changed forever, and the consequences of that split second still haunted them four years later.

    This book was made even more enjoyable by the sweltering and scorching description of the Sudan, which seemed to emphasise the intense tension and anxiety emanating from the two central characters and made an extremely fascinating and thought provoking read. I recommend this book hugely. A great idea and I couldn’t rest until I finished the last page.” JOANNE SCHOFIELD

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Weight 0.25 kg



210 x 135mm, 256pp