So “The Girl on the Train” it is- the adult fiction book that topped The New York Times Fiction Best Seller list in 2016, in the Combined Print & E-Book Fiction category. It was for 10 weeks at the top of the list (as of October 30th), followed by Me Before You by Jojo Moyes with 7 weeks. With positive reviews right from the start, The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins may seem yet another story, of love, lust and infidelity.
Yet, according to me, what clicked in the book is that element of suspense the narration held within it all along. Yes, indeed towards the end the book did get predictable, but otherwise, the book did have the right amount of clues thrown in at the right time. The Girl on the Train worked for me and here’s why it did.
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day it’s the same route, moving past cozy suburban homes, and stopping at the signal that allows her to catch a glimpse of the same couple. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough for everything to change. Soon she is deeply entangled, in her own life as well as in the lives of many others. I wouldn’t want to divulge too much on the plot, but similar to other thrillers its best for readers to dive in on their own. The plot was cinematic indeed with vivid descriptions that played on my mind.
The Element of Suspense
None of the revelations in The Girl on the Train are straight forward. They keep you guessing, so as you read, the plot may seem to get murkier indeed.
The only thing that left me disappointed was the ending, which played out like a movie scene. I felt it was a bit underdone, with elements of melodrama and action strewn in.
Despite this, a novel like “The Girl on the Train” is definitely a must read. It plays on your mind, pulls you into it and ensures you read it till that last page. That’s the power of Paula Hawkins and her well executed narration.