The Girl on the Train penned by Paula Hawkins, is your not-so-ordinary psychological thriller.
Hollowness: that I understand. I’m starting to believe that there isn’t anything you can do to fix it. That’s what I’ve taken from the therapy sessions: the holes in your life are permanent. You have to grow around them, like tree roots around concrete; you mould yourself through the gaps.
There came a novel last year, a novel which then went on to become a bestseller, a novel which was suddenly everywhere, on everyone’s reading list; on every magazine and every newspaper, a novel which transformed Paula Hawkins from inconspicuous to a much publicized figure. Touted to be the next Gone Girl, it kind of took the whole world by a mini storm.
This not-so-ordinary psychological thriller discombobulates you in such a way that by that the time you finish it, you won’t even be sure about your own name. The story makes you doubt everyone and everything that is going around you, including yourself.
One of the most riveting things about this thriller is its narrative technique as it is narrated by not one, but three different women. Rachel Watson, the protagonist and the primary narrator, is a divorced woman in her mid-thirties. An alcoholic, she is obsessed with her ex-husband Tom. She keeps harassing him and his wife Anna (who also happens to be the second narrator).
Apart from being obsessed with alcohol and her ex-husband, Rachel is also fixated on a couple she sees every day from the train while going back and forth. Megan (our third narrator) and Scott are Jess and James for Rachel. Rachel builds a whole fantasy world around them. Living just a few houses away from her old house (the house her ex-husband now shares with his new wife and their little daughter), they are her ideal couple. But everything changes when one day she sees Megan kissing a stranger.
She decides to tell Megan’s husband the truth. But, the next thing she knows, Megan is a missing woman and no one has any idea about her whereabouts. Rachel has had a blackout and she doesn’t remember what she was up to the night Megan went missing.
Fearing her own involvement and thinking that she is the only one to know about Megan’s affair, Rachel starts playing detective to find out the truth.
Who is behind Megan’s disappearance? Is it her husband? Is it her lover? Is it someone from Megan’s past? Has Megan pulled a Gone Girl act? What happened to Rachel on the night of Megan’s disappearance and is she somehow involved in it? These are some of the questions which keep the readers glued to the book.
As long as comparisons with Gone Girl go, apart from the genre, the only other similarity is that both the novels have a missing girl in it. Other than that, they are as different as they get.
The girl on the train is amazingly intriguing and gripping and holds your interest till the end, but at the core of this amazing plot is a horrible story about equally horrible people. There is nothing pleasant about this tale; there are scarcely any likable characters or any light moment in it. It is so dark that reading it feels like going through depression.
But, the thing about this book is that once you start reading it, there is no way that you can stop till you finish the story; you have to turn the pages and read every word, until you get to the very end, until you unfold the mystery, until you find out the truth. It is like getting sucked in a tornado.
So, if you like reading psychological thrillers, and want to read something dark and gritty and fast paced, The Girl on the Train is a perfect read for you.
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