Thursday, September 8, 2016

This 'n That Thursdays: The Girl on the Train (2015)

From The New York Times.

I have been hearing about the book The Girl on the Train (2015) for over a year now.  It is a best seller that has now been made into a movie, and it seems that everyone who has read it has recommended it.  Finally, this past weekend while awaiting our flight at the Atlanta airport, I decided to buy a copy and read it.

The short blurb describing the novel makes the story sound like a murder mystery along the lines of Agatha Christie's 4:50 from Paddington, but it is quite different.  The book is more of a psychological thriller than a straightforward murder mystery, and character rather than plot driven.  While the story is darker and unhappier than I prefer, the unique narration had me hooked enough to want to read it through to the end.

Instead of just one narrator, this tale is told by three different people, and all three to various extents are what is known as an unreliable narrator.  The narrator, whether unintentionally or by choice, does not always tell the truth.  The reader may or may not be made aware of this fact, and it is often difficult to ascertain just what to believe.  The primary narrator and title character, while not entirely likable, is the most unreliable, but has a certain integrity that eventually earns the reader's respect, if not complete trust, and it is mainly from her point of view that the story unfolds and concludes.  I will not give away the plot, except to say that although a murder does occur, it is not really the main focus of this novel.  Of more importance is the interaction of the characters, and how these interactions ultimately lead to the tragedy.

I cannot guarantee that you will like this book, and I am not even sure that I liked it, but it was worth reading.  I tend to divide books that are worth reading into two categories, those that I will keep and read again and those that are worth passing on to others to read.  The Girl on the Train definitely falls into the latter category for me, and I will be passing my copy on to a good friend to read.

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