Thursday, 15 January 2015
The Girl on the Train- Paula Hawkins
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…
Well, this book was so much more than I expected! There's been a lot of buzz surrounding this book on twitter and in the blogging community, and I have enjoyed psychological thrillers more and more over the past few years, but I hadn't expected to be reeled in hook, line and sinker by Paula Hawkins' debut novel.
The novel is told through a tri-narrative- examining events in a suburban neighbourhood through the eyes of Rachel, Anna and Megan. Rachel (the 'girl on the train') is a fascinating character, the alcohol-dependant unreliable witness who leaves you doubting. I couldn't tell if I empathised with her situation or whether she was harbouring dark secrets, and that was what appealed to me about her. As a reader I felt as voyeuristic as Rachel herself, peering into parts of life which should remain private. Anna (the new wife to Rachel's ex husband) I found harder to warm to. Although I felt pity for her and the situation she found herself in, she came across as a bit of a mopey old grump. Megan is perhaps the most elusive of the three, and as the plot unfolds her past unravels.
Community, technology, trust and relationships are all examined in this novel laden in mystery, and my heart was pounding in my chest at certain points throughout. The book cleverly leaves you doubting yourself and the first two-thirds of the book in particular were superb at creating a tense atmosphere.
The Girl on the Train is a thoroughly unsettling read which leaves you wondering how well you really know your community, your friends and your family. A gripping, well-executed debut, I can't wait to see what Paula Hawkins comes up with next.
The Girl on the Train is out today, published by Transworld.
With thanks to the publisher who provided me with a galley copy in return for an honest review.