THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (Paula Hawkins) Book Review

9780857522313-largeAnyone who’s ridden trains in and out of London (or any large city) knows that feeling of getting window-glimpses of people inside the dwellings you pass. You wonder who they are, what their lives are like.

Hawkins writes a fevered yarn of the misery of one constant traveller, long since fired from her job, who take the train daily (drinking as she goes) pretending to be still going to work, and going past the house where she used to live until dumped by her man. He still lives there with a new woman and their baby. Cue seething jealousy. In that block of houses is another couple, apparently with enviable lives, also observed on a daily basis.

The train metaphor is a good one for you can tell that everyone’s lives are heading for some sort of wreck. The plot rattles along with urgency. It’s all made extra tense by the confusions that can arise from random texting, high work stress, too much alcohol and casual sex. A major weakness though is that it is very difficult to identify with any character in a sympathetic way. Each one is morally or emotionally bankrupt in one way or another.

Hawkins lets the three women involved take turns to write chapters from their points of view, layering up the threads of the plot, revving up the anguish, and revealing new twists all the way through. It’s a great weekend read. Or an excellent book, in fact, for passing time with on a (wait for it) train. It might just make you think twice about what you assume you are seeing out the window.

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Comments

  1. Heard so much about this book! Can’t wait to read it!

    Liked by 2 people

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