A subtle, yet gripping thriller that gives nothing of substance away until the very end.
Ok, so admittedly I’m late to the party of the worldwide success that this book has achieved – but now that I have I completely understand exactly people have been gripped by it.
A subtle and detailed story, it shows just how important memory and all of the little details are in the bigger picture. Rachel, an alcoholic who takes the same train every day becomes fascinated with one couple’s life whose house she passes everyday. But suddenly she is drawn into the disappearance of the woman, Megan. The Girl on the Train combines the past with the present, making time leading up to the disappearance and after run alongside each other effectively.
Paula Hawkins has created a novel that might be subtle and at times frustrating at the beginning, particularly with all the attention to detail which tends to initially focus on things that don’t seem necessarily important, but it soon quickly becomes apparent that you shouldn’t immediately discount everything that you have been told.
But she also manages to place relationships right at the heart of the book, exploring how Rachel’s relationships with he ex-husband Tom, Megan’s husband Scott and Tom’s new wife Anna evolve and twist according to each circumstance that takes place.
As things about each of the characters lives are unveiled, the number of different theories about what happened to Megan widen and keep the reader guessing effectively. There might not be a single likeable character, not even Rachel (comes across as too self-pitying), but that’s not the point. It makes us question just how well we really think we can know someone.
The way in which Hawkins has written the novel allows the reader to really get inside the female characters heads and understand why they are the way they are. It is a simmering piece of work, that increases in intensity as the pressure mounts on all of the characters when the truth begins to emerge.
It is a genuinely compelling read that understandably once you start you can not put down. I’m going to be careful about what I see when I’m on a train from now on.
The Girl on the Train is available to buy through Amazon now.