Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
If you don't live in London or a similar metropolitan city, chances are you don't spend a lot of time on a train. If you are a city dweller or a commuter, you might spend quite a good portion of your life on a train, subway, bus or other form of public transportation. No matter what your opinions of public transport systems, they are a hotbed of activity. People work, have conversations, meet their future partners for the first time, write the next great novel, make important decisions or read the best books of their lives on trains… It's repetitive to ride a train to work every day and yet, while doing the same thing as a routine, you still never know what might happen. Who will sit down beside you? What delays might you experience? Or in the case of this book, what will you see?

The Girl on the Train is primarily about Rachel, who rides the train to London every day for work. She's had a rough go of things lately and uses the train as her way to escape the pain and disappointment of her own life by creating a story about the lives of the people she sees living in the houses by the tracks. Slightly obsessive and a heavy drinker, it quickly becomes evident that Rachel is an unreliable narrator and yet she is the main voice in the book. Rachel's narration alternates with the points of view of two other women in the book, each of them telling what they believe to be the true story of the people she's fantasized about while riding on the train.

The Girl on the Train is a fast-paced, thrilling novel that grabs you and doesn't let you go until the very last word on the final page. I've heard this book be compared to Gone Girl and while I'll agree it's quite similar, it's an equally inventive tale in its own right, told in a way that I've not yet seen in literature. Debut author Paula Hawkins is a breath of fresh air, weaving an intricate web of past, present, lies and shocks, keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire book. I read this book in less than 24 hours - I simply could not put it down, nor did I want to.

I definitely recommend The Girl on the Train for anyone who enjoys a good thriller. If you liked Gone Girl, you'll of course love this book. It's a quick read that will really make you think about the people you see every day when you're out for a coffee or on your way to work. Do you know them? Do they know you? Do you have friends or acquaintances in common? Are they really who they seem or is there a deeper story there? It's a creepy, interesting and swift story about what might be lying beneath the surface of the people in our lives, whether they be our closest friends or simply strangers we meet in passing. I loved The Girl on the Train and I look forward to reading more books by Paula Hawkins in the future.
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