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12 February 2015

Paula Hawkins: Girl on the Train

A very slow train 
GIRL ON THE TRAIN has received rave reviews but IMHO is is a very slow train about some strange people.

Rachael takes the same commuter train into London every day and through the quirks of the signalling system most days it slows or stops near a row of houses in the London suburbs. She can see something of the people living in each house in the row from the train and even gives some of them names, Gradually you realise that Rachael is interested because she used to live in one of the houses.

The plot unfurls slowly as we get to know more about Rachael, her drinking problems and the reasons for her fixation on the houses and their occupants. She cannot move on from her past and keeps trying to connect with the people she sees from the train, although some of them don't want to see her.

This is basically a psychological thriller that unfolds page by page to give you a bigger picture of what happened and what is happening. Unfortunately it unfolded too slowly for me to get absorbed in the story and I put it down several times because I couldn't connect with what it was about.

The only thing that I did connect with was the train journey as many years ago I commuted to London on  a train that frequently stopped at a junction between two lines. I remember seeing the back gardens and windows of the nearby houses, but never had a clear view of any of the occupants.

My thanks to The Reading Room and the publisher for a copy of this book.

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