I finished reading The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins last night and wouldn’t stop thinking about it. I had been postponing reading the book because the mystery seemed so sacred. I was afraid that once I finish the book and the mystery is over I will be left with an empty hole in my heart. Well, that happened but it also left me with a good feeling of having read such an exalting suspense and thriller after such a long time. I am not a sucker for detective or crime fiction but lately I have found myself drawn into it. I have read the Cormoron Strike novels by Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling and now this.
The novels begins at a slower pace just like a train and once it grabs speed you can’t just deboard it. I didn’t realise when I got hooked onto the novel and I did an all-nighter to finish it. Now I am left with a raw feeling as if something that I had planned to go one way, has gone another way. While reading you might make a list of suspects, you might guess what may have happened but when the truth is revealed you will be blown away.
The novel is written in first person and through the point of view of three different people (I am not disclosing the names). All the characters are sketched out beautifully. I felt that I knew the characters inside and out. Their insecurities, their fears, their weaknesses, everything has been dealt with and told to the reader.
The narration style is very different, something I haven’t encountered in a long while. The stories sometimes run parallel and sometimes to and fro. One has to be careful with the dates to not get jumbled up. I kept going back to the dates because they are a vital part of the story. Paula Hawkins never strays in telling her story and you can not find a single loose end. There are different characters with different stories which all gradually merge into one.
The diversity of characters is something I loved. At points they seem similar, similar to the point of fault but they all turn out to be very different. There’s an alcoholic, there’s a possessive husband, there’s a protective mother and there’s a directionless woman. They all come loaded with their own pasts and issues which play an important part in the story.
The main event of the story is that a woman goes missing and then after few weeks turns up dead. You have to hand it to Paula to turn this simple series of event into a fascinating psychological thriller novel. You can’t just ignore it. The novel takes you through parts of suburban London and gives a peek into the redundant life of the modern day families. At many points in the novel, I could relate to what the characters were feeling or thinking.
On the back of the book, there is a small introduction for Paula Hawkins. It states that she had been a journalist for fifteen years. The way she keeps the narrative tightly woven and gives specific importance to dates, days and places, the little detailing of the characters and how they behave in a particular situation is all an evidence of her former career as a journalist. It has always been a topic of debate in the literature circle as to what extent does a writer’s experience as a journalist affects their writing. From this novel it is evident that it introduces an extra edge to the writing. For a journalist it is of utmost importance to report the tiniest details with accuracy of date and time. Paula Hawkins does the same in The Girl on The Train and does not waver anywhere. When all the running threads finally come to a conclusion does one realise the importance of so much details. her journalistic experience lends the necessary flair to deliver this compact psychological thriller.
Now that i have finished reading I feel a sense of betrayal because the person I was hoping to be, no I was sure to be the killer doesn’t turn out to be the killer. If you are looking for a thriller which captivates you and is nothing like the usual crime fiction novel. This novel is soon going to be a motion picture and I just can’t wait to see my Megan and Rachel and Anna portrayed on the big screen.