Review & Tour: The London Train

The London Train

The London Train
By Tessa Hadley
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780062011831, June 2011, 352pp.)

The Short of It:

Understated, quiet and lovely.

The Rest of It:

Paul and his second wife Elise have had issues in the past, but at the moment, they seem to be doing well. That is, until he leaves her to live with his pregnant daughter in a ramshackle flat with a couple of strangers. While Paul struggles to find his place in this new arrangement, Cora finds herself utterly conflicted over her recent separation from her husband Robert. The two stories intersect to create a new dynamic that force these characters to face life, head on.

This is a book of moments. As a whole, it’s very quiet and simple but there are moments within it that beg to be reread, or even read out loud. There is a lilting, pleasing tone to the writing that I found quite enjoyable. Although at first glance nothing much happens, as this is not a plot-driven novel, there is a lot that happens within the characters. Revelations. Realizations. Understanding.

Once, Cora had believed that living had built a cumulative bank of memories, thickening and deepening as time went on, shoring you against emptiness. She had used to treasure up relics from every phase of her life as it passed, as if they were holy. Now that seemed to her a falsely consoling model of experience. The present was always paramount, in a way that thrust you forward: empty, but also free.

Readers who enjoy reflection and contemplative musing will truly appreciate this novel. The writing was lovely and it left me with a deep sense of peace. The London Train was longlisted for the Orange Prize but didn’t make the shortlist. A real shame if you ask me.

TLC Book Tours

To view Ms. Hadley’s other tours stops, click here.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via TLC Book Tours.

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22 thoughts on “Review & Tour: The London Train”

  1. I have this on my TBR list – so glad you enjoyed it. Now if I could only get through all the books on my Nook so I can read some fun summer stuff.

    BTW, I have the Nook from last summer (just before the color version). My husband is getting an iPad so I’m not spending a dollar on an ereader, until I decide if I really need an iPad (which sounds great). I watch TV/movies on my iphone all the time while working out so the iPad is actually a good option for me.

    1. I know from my limited testing with the iPad (for work) that it’s a device that I wouldn’t really get much use of. It’s AWESOME but I carry too much as it is and I can’t read on that screen like I can on my Kindle.

  2. I have this and will read it…I am really into Sister by Rosamund Lupton…it is one of those soft hitting books, too…I have a feeling you would love it…but I have a soft spot for English settings…and series and characters…and tea!!!

  3. I recently read another review of this book for the same tour and it sounded like a completely different book than the one you read!!! I’m curious to read it to see which books it turns out to be!

  4. I think I have entirely bypassed even looking at a description of this book because of the cover. Something about it screamed chick-lit to me. Yet again an example of the old adage: don’t judge a book by its cover. This really sounds like something I would enjoy.

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