Week 14 read was best-selling novel of the year 2015- on top of the list for 13 consecutive weeks ever since its launch in Feb. Lot of post launch discussions and the similarities it carried with extremely successful “Gone Girl” brought the book back to No.1 in Jan 2016- a year after its launch- not a usual occurrence. This book touted as ‘psychological thriller’ was an instant hit.
Book #: 14
Title: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
The novel takes the narrative from the POV of three women: Rachel, Megan and Anna. Each of them experiencing a sort of trouble in their own lives. Their lives were extremely disconnected but intertwined and entangled by their own mistakes.
You make no mistake in judging the key attributes of Rachel – stressed, drunk, suffering from blackouts and often imaginative. She explores the meaning of a happy wedding, not from her own married life which is shattered, but from the flat she could see from her daily commute.
It is not often when you have your lead character struggling with such ‘lost in the world’ nuances. For me personally, it took a lot of time to get into the thick of what Rachel is undergoing- Yes, her wedding has gone bizarre, her drunk lifestyle took over but I couldn’t feel the empathy for her. Not until, she takes that step to inform police for a couple who she knew little about – all about them was in her imagination. The behavioral traits of the key narrator, Rachel, makes you feel skeptical to believe all she is saying. She definitely has some trust issues.
The most interesting aspect of the movie is not the characters but the narration. This is usually a difficult task to accomplish- as the rule 1 of fiction writing tells you- make the readers feel for their characters. Paula Hawkins takes her own time to make you connected with emotions of the characters – but gets into the act straight in. You know all you need to know about the key characters as witnessed from the eyes of a struggling young woman. She might be right. She might be absolutely wrong. But, you go with the flow- you travel with Rachel- until you realize how wrong she is with all her presumptions.
Considered as the second “Gone Girl” by many, the book does include the shades of it but the surprisingly vulnerable characters yet strong narration with brilliant pace of suspense makes it an interesting read.