EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. 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. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?
Paula Hawkins’s gripping debut, The Girl on the Train, is a psychological thriller at its best, chilling from the first page to the last. Written in first person present tense, the story is told in alternating narratives on a circumvolving timeline that still manages to flow seamlessly. The writing is tautly elegant and vivid.
The story is not a fast-paced one—the action doesn’t peak until the end—but rather a layered tale of betrayal, told in such a way that the reader is caught up in the plot, eagerly turning to the next page. The tale relies on introspection that builds on each additional narrative. The narrators themselves are perfectly unreliable and flawed: a wallowing drunk, a bored and immature liar, and a chillingly selfish former mistress.
Part of the narrative became tedious and began to bog down the story, and the “whodunit” was an easy one to guess, but the layered, riveting tale culminated in a stellar climax and brief, haunting denouement. The Girl on the Train is an impressive debut, a psychological thriller for the keeper shelves.