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.
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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