Simon's Bookcase

Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe

The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train: Paula Hawkins, February 16—26, 2015
My rating: ♦♦♦♦◊

BOOK Book Reviews 11514819042

The Girl on the Train is a tense thriller about a missing woman, told by multiple narrators in a non-linear arrangement. It might sound like Gone Girl, and has been heavily compared to it, but the comparison does both a disservice.

The most prominent narrator is Rachel Watson, an infertile alcoholic who has been divorced and fired and is staying with a university friend while pretending to put her life back together. She is the titular girl on the train, and while pretending to go to work each day she looks longingly at the street she used to live in, fantasting about a perfect couple she often sees. The other narrators are Anna, her husband’s new wife who lives in the same house as they used to, and Megan, one half of Rachel’s perfect girl and the one who goes missing.

Megan’s disappearance draws Rachel into their lives, having observed them from the train for some time. She believes she has information that might help. Soon, the three households become rapidly entwined in each other’s dramas.

None of the characters are immediately likeable, but it’s hard not to feel sorry for Rachel. She may be her own worst enemy, but it wouldn’t do her any harm to catch a break. Hawkins does well to maintain such a tight cast, keeping a very small core of characters central to all of the action. They all have backstories, all have secrets and are all very carefully devised, though none of them have any particularly distinct personality.

There are some surprises in store along the way, though the pace is sluggish in parts and the ending isn’t particularly difficult to predict. The Girl on the Train instead provides some compelling character drama; this is a real study in how people affect each other, the impact that one life has on another, and how each person is the sum of their history. It traces the butterfly effect of relationships and lies.

There may be some delays, but The Girl on the Train is well worth the ride.


One comment on “The Girl on the Train

  1. Pingback: The Grownup | Simon's Bookcase

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on February 26, 2015 by in 4 star and tagged .

Author Cloud

@Queen_UK Adolf Hitler agatha christie Alan Clements Alastair Campbell Aldous Huxley Aleksandr Orlov Alex Shaffer Andrew Neiderman Anthony Burgess Arthur Miller Bateman Ben Brooks Ben Elton Bram Stoker Bret Easton Ellis C.J. Cherryh Carolyn Jess-Cooke Charles Dickens Chuck Palahniuk Dan Brown Dante Alighieri dashiell hammett david baldacci David Brin David Glattauer David Kirkpatrick David Line David Tennant David Wolstencroft Dylan Jones E.L. James Edgar Allen Poe Emilia Fox Eoin Colfer Erica Spindler Frank Peretti Gabrielle Lord Gareth Roberts Geoff Ryman George Orwell George R. R. Martin George W. Bush Gillian Flynn Gillian Slovo Graham Greene Guy Piran Harper Lee Harriet Lane Herman Koch Ian Rankin J.K. Rowling Jack Thorne Jacqueline Rayner James Herbert James Patterson Jasper Fforde Jeff Green Jeff Kinney Jeffrey Archer Jem Lester Jenny Robson Jeremy Clarkson Jerry B. Jenkins Jim Thompson John Crowther John Green John Grisham John Tiffany John Verdon Jonas Jonasson Judith Kerr Juliana Foster Justin Richards Kaci Hill Karen Levine Keeley Bolger Louis Walsh malorie blackman Marissa Meyer Mark Haddon Mark Z. Danielewski Martin Sixsmith Mary Higgins Clark Mary McNamara Matt Haig Matthew Ravden Michael Berry Michael Connelly Michael Morpurgo Michael Quirke Miguel de Cervantes Mike Lancaster Morris Gleitzman Morton Rhue Neil Sinclair Nick Hornby Nick Page Patricia Cornwell Patricia Stotley Patrick Ness Paula Hawkins Paul Johnston Peter James Phil Allcock R.J. Palacio Rachelle Dekker Raymond Chandler Richard Bachman Robert Louis Stevenson Robert Ludlum Robin Cook Robin Kirkpatrick sandra brown Sebastian Beaumont Sharon Osbourne Stella Rimmington Stephen Cole Stephen King Steve Lookner Steve Lyons Stuart MacBride Sue Townsend Suzanne Collins ted dekker Terry Pratchett Tim LaHaye Tim Randall Todd Strasser Tom Avery Tom Bower Tom Cain Tom Hoyle tony blair William Golding William P. Young William Shakespeare