Tag Archives: Race Relations

Review: The Train of Small Mercies

The Train of Small Mercies

The Train of Small Mercies
By David Rowell
(Putnam Adult, Hardcover, 9780399157288, October 2011, 272pp.)

The Short of It:

Compelling and thought-provoking… The Train of Small Mercies affords us a tiny glimpse of people made somber by tragedy.

The Rest of It:

In New York, a young black porter struggles through his first day on the job-a staggering assignment aboard Robert F. Kennedy’s funeral train. In Pennsylvania, a woman creates a tangle of lies to sneak away from her disapproving husband and pay her respects to the slain senator, dragging her child with her. In Maryland, a wounded young soldier awaits a newspaper interview that his parents hope will restore his damaged self-esteem. And in Washington, an Irish nanny in town to interview with the Kennedy family must reconcile the lost opportunity and the chance to start her life anew.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book quite like this one. As the train moves through each state, you feel as if you are one of the mourners, waiting for the train to come through town. There is so much going on with these people. They all have their own challenges and somehow, they come together for this one purpose.

What I enjoyed most is that the story flows effortlessly. The story’s pace never falters and although the story’s point of view alternates between characters, the momentum is never lost. I think in part, this is due to how well-developed each storyline is. The chapters are brief, but include just the right amount of detail.

I eagerly turned the pages and enjoyed this one quite a bit. The Train of Small Mercies will appeal to all types of readers.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program.

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