She’s buried beneath a silver birch tree, down towards the old train tracks, her grave marked with a cairn.
This book was everywhere when it came out in January 2015 – and I mean everywhere! Commuters were racing through it, friends were talking about it, you couldn’t walk past a Waterstones without seeing the stark black cover plastered across the windows… it was everywhere. Now, regular TTW readers will know that this kind of popularity will automatically put me off reading a book until the euphoria dies down but also, in the case of The Girl on the Train, I had to wait longer than normal because I wanted to read the paperback and that was only released this May – a long wait indeed!
The mundane, everyday commute would almost be depressive for Rachel if it weren’t for ‘Jess and Jason’ – her friends, travel companions and complete strangers. Every day her train passes this house of perfect domesticity and gives her peace in her chaotic, lonely life. Or rather it did… One morning she witnesses the cracks and takes it upon herself to play detective and give a new purpose to the life of the girl on the train.
It is very difficult to say you enjoy a book when all the characters, bar an incredibly young infant, are morally or emotionally repugnant. And yet I did! The three main narrators – a cheat, an alcoholic and a liar – are completely untrustworthy and this makes for an unstable and unpredictable thriller to read. I genuinely raced through the last hundred pages, desperate to find out what happens and why!
If you like psychological thrillers, this book matches the delivery of Before I Go To Sleep and Gone Girl, possibly even surpassing the latter. Is it going to be an all-time favourite novel, a long-standing classic? No. But it is an addictive read, Hawkin’s writing flows with pace – twisting, turning and unsettling the reader right up to the end. She establishes her characters early on, allowing the mystery to be as much about the narrators of the story as it is about the journey towards finding the truth.
Having seen the trailer for the film adaptation (due for release in the UK in October), I’m not too sure about it… The starting premise of the book works brilliantly because, as a London commuter myself, it’s so easy to people watch and I see the same people most days that they become part of your routine. I’m not entirely convinced how effective the film will be when set in the country setting of America but as Emily Blunt is starring, I’m willing to give it a whirl!