Sunday, 26 October 2014

The girl on the train - Paula Hawkins - full of apprehension and tension

From Goodreads: 

To everyone else in this carriage I must look normal; I’m doing exactly what they do: commuting to work, making appointments, ticking things off lists.
Just goes to show.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and every evening. Every day she passes the same Victorian terraces, stops at the same signal, and sees the same couple, breakfasting on their roof terrace. Jason and Jess seem so happy together.

Then one day Rachel sees something she shouldn't have seen, and soon after, Jess disappears. Suddenly Rachel is chasing the truth and unable to trust anyone. Not even herself.

MY thoughts ....

Completely blew me away - superb psychological thriller. 

Where do I begin to share my thoughts on this one .... when it made such a huge impact on me? It's the story of Rachel, the girl on the train, who commutes daily, the train journey itself becoming a huge focal point of her days. She watches the same houses as she passes by and recognises certain people so well she feels she knows them - she is the ultimate people watcher and concocts little stories about their lives until one day she witnesses something disconcerting and worrying and feels she must do something - but what? 

A young woman is missing and because of her observations from the train, Rachel thinks she may be able to throw a little light on what has happened to her. She is used to being disbelieved so is at first reluctant to get involved. As she gets drawn more deeply into the lives of others we realise her own life isn't quite as it at first appears and secrets begin to emerge which threw me time and time again. I had huge sympathy for her situation despite her often being her own worst enemy. This story is so tightly woven it wraps itself around you like suffocating in kid leather. Impeccably constructed and penned with breathtaking intensity.

A police investigation is going on around the missing girl and Rachel tries to do her own investigation, but is thwarted time and again and we begin to wonder if she knows more than she is letting on about what happened or maybe she is barking up completely the wrong tree?

The story is told in the different voices of 3 women, all a similar age and in similar circumstances yet all very different (and all with hidden flaws) and this technique works incredibly well

Unreliable narrators have become De Rigeur since [book:Gone Girl|21480930] set the bar and, like gone girl, this work contains several different viewpoints and we don't really know who can be trusted or even who to believe. It sucked me in from the first few words and kept me in a state of nail biting tension throughout.

Its a refreshing relief for the women in the story to have such dark and yet very recognisable faults and vices, it makes them so immensely human yet kept me wary and alert all through the book.

To say much more would be tantamount to spoilers and I don't want to spoil the pleasure anyone is going to get from reading this - if you like tangled tales, unreliable narrators, apprehension and tension in your stories look no further. The Girl on the train is waiting to blow your mind - go for it!

My grateful thanks to and the publisher Random House for providing my advance copy of this super book, in exchange for sharing my thoughts.

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