“Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She’s even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. ‘Jess and Jason’, she calls them. Their life – as she sees it – is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.
Now everything’s changed. Now Rachel has a chance to become a part of the lives she’s only watched from afar.
Now they’ll see; she’s much more than just the girl on the train…”
“The Girl On The Train” is the debut psychological thriller by Zimbabwe-born author Paula Hawkins.
The novel is written from three first-person perspectives, and uses three differing timelines too. The majority of the narrative comes from Rachel – a woman catching the daily train to and from London, struggling with life since her divorce two years ago and the blackouts she suffers as a result of her alcoholism.
Interspersed with that we have recollections from Megan – the woman who Rachel observes from the train and has christened Jess, and Anna – who lives a few doors down the road from Megan.
The use of shifting timelines and perspectives is a clever way of letting us find out exactly what is going on only when the writer wants us to and definitely enhances the suspense and tension of the story.
It also means that, although there are clues to be found throughout the tale, the finale to the book is still a surprise – especially as there are plenty of misleading clues dotted throughout too.
Everyone in the story seems to have a secret. None of them are above suspicion for what happens. We get a glimpse of what lies just beneath the surface of suburban life – the lies, the cheating, the emotional and physical abuse – it’s all here, and it all adds up to a gripping and frankly brilliant read! Highly recommended…