Book Talk: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This book is a nail-biting page-turner, a hallmark of every good crime novel. There are three different narrators, each defined by unique and not very flattering, traits who relate the story of a mysterious disappearance. The protagonist is an unemployed woman, named Megan, who commutes daily on the 8.04 am train and walks the streets of London, all to trick her housemate into thinking she had not been fired from her job.
She passes by a neighbourhood she used to live in with her past partner and observes a couple from the train’s window. She imagines them to be living the perfect romance: the life she wishes she had lived. She even names them ‘Jess’ and ‘Jason’. But one day, something extraordinary happens, and she gets inextricably involved in a crime.
The story and its plot twists are presented by three narrators with three distinct personalities. Each narrator relates his account in the first-person, as Megan on the train.
Megan, the narrator and the girl on the train, watches the strangers– much like everyone does when they sit in a train – wondering what other peoples’ lives are. Megan watched the couple supposing they had happy lives. Unhappy in her own life, she lived vicariously through theirs.
We tend to weave stories that fit our imagination and own perspectives. Through the irreverent style of recounting by the narrators we are curiously comforted that all of them do not know what they think, or say, they know.
“It’s impossible to resist the kindness of strangers. Someone who looks at you, who doesn’t know you, who tells you it’s OK, whatever you did, whatever you’ve done: you suffered, you hurt, you deserve forgiveness.”

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