Posted by patron and guest blogger, Irv S.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins is a very well written murder mystery, told non linearly by several narrators. The principal characters are each affected by two or more of the following: alcoholism, jealousy, infidelity, hate, obsession, or self-delusion. There is no sympathetic character. They all inspire pity, loathing, or disrespect. The least offensive is a psychiatric counselor who has an affair with his patient. Their most appealing qualities are frailty and disappointment. They all misread, misinterpret, or distort the motives and actions of others. They jump to conclusions which seem logical and reasonable to them but are dead wrong. Hawkins demonstrates the difficulty in understanding others, and, indeed, understanding oneself. She shows how complex truth can be, and how a lie told to attempt to simplify an event can not only discredit the liar but can actually complicate matters even further. The story is told by three female narrators, each of whom justifies her own actions and conduct to some extent. The men are just bad people, though each is to some extent cared for by each of the women. There is nothing uplifting here except the excellent writing. It could make a thrilling movie.