“The Girl on the Train” is a psychological thriller by Paula Hawkins. Hawkins is a British author. This novel was first published in 2015. It immediately became ‘NEW YORK TIMES’ Bestseller after it was published. It won ‘Goodreads Choice award’ in the category of mystery and thriller. It also had been adapted for a Hollywood Movie in the same name, starring Emily Blunt in lead. This book costs around six hundred rupees in Indian currency now.
Hawkins starts the story with an undercurrent feel of mystery. The main protagonist of the story is Rachel, one of the most complicated characters of the story. She is a divorcee, a drunker and has no job. But still pretending of having a job to her landlord, she takes the train from London everyday. In this journey she regularly observes one couple from the train, who lives in those houses, situated beside the railway track.
In this same road, she used to live with her husband Tom who now lives with his current wife Anna and their child. One day she notices something awkward from the train and decides to come over to that road again. After that she finds herself in the middle of a murder case and after that the mystery slowly overpowers everything around.
Hawkins skillfully depicts the story in a diary form which increases the feel of suspense in every page. The complex layering of Rachel’s subconscious mind is well represented through her writing skill. Though Rachel seems to be disoriented all the time, we feel the sympathy for her. Her husband Tom leaves her solely because of her infertility which leaves the biggest question upon his morality that helps to understand his characterization. Tom’s second wife’s insecurity, Megan and Scott’s ( that couple Rachel used to observe from the train) inner conflict and the dark past of every character contribute to the story to create a sense of suspense and thrill.
Hawkins never overlaps or overlooks any character for that matter, she gives proper attention to every character and she also gives a true insight of every character. However I find the first half of the story is more slow than the rest. Focusing upon the regular life and miserable condition of Rachel make the first half a little bit slow. So in the second half the readers have to digest a lot of information and insight about the past of every characters. The story telling technique increases our suspense that we stick to the story from starting. Hawkins creates a masterly atmosphere of making a mysterious net and then slowly unveiling it throughout the story.
I absolutely love this story, despite some of its backdrops, it is one of the exciting psychological thriller with excellent skill of writings.