Category : A book that’s becoming a movie this year
Title : The Girl on the Train
Author : Paula Hawkins
The Girl on the Train is a psychological thriller written in a format that seems like journal entries. The main character Rachel takes the same train to London everyday and back and watches the houses by the track. She observes a couple on their deck everyday, starts to imagine the story of their lives and becomes rather obsessed with what she sees as a perfect marriage.
As the story unfolds, we find out about her own failed marriage and her alcoholism that are driving her into depression. She holds on to her image of the happy couple, endlessly obsessing over the little scraps of information she can gather about them each day as the train passes their house twice a day. The one day the lady she has been watching in the house by the track goes missing and the saga begins.
Rachel finds herself unable to stay away and becomes more and more entangled in the mystery. She believes she is involved in the disappearance of the woman and keeps trying to find out what happened, while battling her own demons at the same time. Her obsession with her ex-husband and his new wife lands her in trouble many times and she is desperately trying to stay afloat in the mess that is her life.
The Girl on the Train is a fast paced read, though pretty dark and gloomy at times. The writing style is fluid and keeps you hooked. There are three points of view through which we see the story unfold – that of Rachel herself, of Anna – the ex-husband’s wife, and the lady who has disappeared. The story is not strictly chronological, so that when the narrator changes, so does the time line and the reader must piece together a coherent thread from the somewhat unreliable ramblings of the three women. All the lead characters are unlikable and pretty messed up. Who is to be trusted? Who is telling the truth? How are they all connected? Did Rachel have a hand in the disappearance of the woman, in one of her alcohol induced black-outs?
I quite enjoyed the book, if one can ‘enjoy’ a depressing tale of deception, mainly because of the solid plot and narration, and also because of the way the characters are developed. As the story progresses, one must constantly re-evaluate one’s assumptions about the characters and that keeps one pretty involved. I must say that once or twice, I thought I knew who the culprit was, then I decided maybe I had the wrong person. However, I was right. All in all, if you like psychological thrillers that screw with your mind and make you look at everyone with suspicion, you’re going to love this one. I’m also looking forward to the movie now, in which Emily Blunt is playing Rachel.
Quick update on my progress with the reading challenge. I have finished reading two more books – an autobiography and a book I can finish in a day and am currently reading a book based on a fairy tale.