Lise is on a journey, one that slowly unfolds without clear explanations or locations. She boards a flight from her northern European country, heading toward a southern destination. She is on a quest, scouting her surroundings for her “boyfriend,” a specific stranger who will be “her type.” It’s uncertain who she’s looking for, and why, but she comes into contact with several people along her way: a skittish young man who is so distressed by her presence that he frantically moves seats on the plane to avoid her, a macrobiotic-diet enthusiast who is hoping to become a cultish guru, an older, frail woman who becomes entranced by Lise’s vague search for her boyfriend and her manic personality.
As Lise regularly puts those she encounters ill at ease, Spark likewise twists the knife into the reader’s brain, forcing one to tear through the suspenseful novella with a tense eagerness. It’s nearly impossible to write about its graces without giving away the entire thing, but I can say that it’s one of the most unsettling pieces of literature I’ve ever encountered, and its anxious brevity is unparalleled.