ABSTRACT

The nameless female first person narrator in Yoko Tawada’s short story “The Gotthard Railway” tells her readers that,

I caught the Gotthard bug. It was like the fever children can work up, passionately longing for a summer holiday at some beach they’ve never seen after hearing the name from their parents. The words “Gotthard railway” transformed into the color of rusty iron, the cold, hazy April air, and the subtle vibrations of the rails, heard only by lonely passengers sitting by themselves gazing out the window, made my throat sore with longing.

Tawada 1998: 132 While the woman lives somewhere in Germany, she passionately yearns for another place, more precisely for a trip to Switzerland, taking a train to explore the famous Saint Gotthard tunnel.