Monday, February 23, 2015

audiobook review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

narrated by Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher

The basics: Rachel, the titular girl on the train, commutes about an hour into London each day. On her commute, the train stops near the home of Megan, and Rachel imagines, and longs for, her life. One day, she sees Megan at her house with another man. The next day, Megan goes missing and is all over the news.

My thoughts: The Girl on the Train is the breakout novel of the season. And it's a good one. It's a literary thriller with well-drawn, interesting characters. I enjoyed the journey as much as the destination (a cringe-worthy pun for a novel about a train, I know.) In short, The Girl on the Train is so successful because it is both appealing to the masses with its fast-paced plot and appealing to more serious readers with its depth and themes.

Rachel is an unreliable narrator, yet she was my favorite character, and I identified with her the most. She's not unreliable for nefarious reasons but because she is an alcoholic prone to blackouts. It's a wonderful storytelling device to listen as Rachel tries to reconstruct her movements. It propels both the plot and the exploration of how and why Rachel drinks as much as she does. I found this duality very satisfying.

The verdict: The Girl on the Train is a satisfying page turner. It is both a suspenseful, engaging read and a thoughtful exploration of the dark periods of life. Its flawed characters are as fascinating as their actions are at times confounding and heartbreaking.

Audio thoughts: The audio production of this novel elevated my enjoyment of it. The three narrators helped differentiate the three main female characters, as each had her own distinctive voice. After chatting with some who read the book in print, I think I found Rachel to be more sympathetic because of Clare Corbett's performance, which enhanced my emotional connection to Rachel and the events of this novel. Curious? Check out these samples of each narrator.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (audio production 5 out of 5)
Length: 10 hours 59 minutes (336 pages)
Publication date: January 13, 2015
Source: purchased

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy The Girls on the Train from Amazon (Kindle edition.) 

Want more? Visit Paula Hawkins's website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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  1. I'm so glad you liked this one! I have it waiting on my kitchen table. Not sure how it ended up there, but at least I have it at hand.

  2. As I've read more reviews of THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, I'm suspecting that I might have liked it more on audio. Most people seem to have really enjoyed the 3 narrators, etc., as you pointed out. In any case, I am glad that I read it because I know what all the hoopla is about. LOL

  3. I've been meaning to read this one. Perhaps I should pick up the audiobook!

  4. I would certainly like to read this one, if only there weren't a million holds already for this book at both my libraries! And my town is small too.

  5. I found all of the narrators unreliable which just made the whole thing great!


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