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The Girl on the Train
Cover of The Girl on the Train
The Girl on the Train
A Novel
The #1 New York Times Bestseller, USA Today Book of the Year, now a major motion picture starring Emily Blunt. Don't miss Paula Hawkins' new novel, Into the Water, coming May 2017. The debut...
The #1 New York Times Bestseller, USA Today Book of the Year, now a major motion picture starring Emily Blunt. Don't miss Paula Hawkins' new novel, Into the Water, coming May 2017. The debut...
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  • The #1 New York Times Bestseller, USA Today Book of the Year, now a major motion picture starring Emily Blunt. Don't miss Paula Hawkins' new novel, Into the Water, coming May 2017.

    The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people's lives.

    "Nothing is more addicting than The Girl on the Train."—Vanity Fair
    "The Girl on the Train has more fun with unreliable narration than any chiller since Gone Girl. . . . [It] is liable to draw a large, bedazzled readership."—The New York Times


    "Marries movie noir with novelistic trickery. . . hang on tight. You'll be surprised by what horrors lurk around the bend."—USA Today

    "Like its train, the story blasts through the stagnation of these lives in suburban London and the reader cannot help but turn pages."—The Boston Globe
    "Gone Girl fans will devour this psychological thriller."—People



    EVERY DAY THE SAME
    Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She's even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.
    UNTIL TODAY
    And then she sees something shocking. It's only a minute until the train moves on, but it's enough. Now everything's changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?




 

Awards-

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    RACHEL

    FRIDAY, JULY 5, 2013

    MORNING
    There is a pile of clothing on the side of the train tracks. Light-blue cloth—a shirt, perhaps—jumbled up with something dirty white. It's probably rubbish, part of a load dumped into the scrubby little wood up the bank. It could have been left behind by the engineers who work this part of the track, they're here often enough. Or it could be something else. My mother used to tell me that I had an overactive imagination; Tom said that, too. I can't help it, I catch sight of these discarded scraps, a dirty T-shirt or a lonesome shoe, and all I can think of is the other shoe and the feet that fitted into them.

    The train jolts and scrapes and screeches back into motion, the little pile of clothes disappears from view and we trundle on towards London, moving at a brisk jogger's pace. Someone in the seat behind me gives a sigh of helpless irritation; the 8:04 slow train from Ashbury to Euston can test the patience of the most seasoned commuter. The journey is supposed to take fifty-four minutes, but it rarely does: this section of the track is ancient, decrepit, beset with signalling problems and never-ending engineering works.

    The train crawls along; it judders past warehouses and water towers, bridges and sheds, past modest Victorian houses, their backs turned squarely to the track.

    My head leaning against the carriage window, I watch these houses roll past me like a tracking shot in a film. I see them as others do not; even their owners probably don't see them from this perspective. Twice a day, I am offered a view into other lives, just for a moment. There's something comforting about the sight of strangers safe at home.

    Someone's phone is ringing, an incongruously joyful and upbeat song. They're slow to answer, it jingles on and on around me. I can feel my fellow commuters shift in their seats, rustle their newspapers, tap at their computers. The train lurches and sways around the bend, slowing as it approaches a red signal. I try not to look up, I try to read the free newspaper I was handed on my way into the station, but the words blur in front of my eyes, nothing holds my interest. In my head I can still see that little pile of clothes lying at the edge of the track, abandoned.

    EVENING
    The premixed gin and tonic fizzes up over the lip of the can as I bring it to my mouth and sip. Tangy and cold, the taste of my first-ever holiday with Tom, a fishing village on the Basque coast in 2005. In the mornings we'd swim the half mile to the little island in the bay, make love on secret hidden beaches; in the afternoons we'd sit at a bar drinking strong, bitter gin and tonics, watching swarms of beach footballers playing chaotic twenty-five-a-side games on the low-tide sands.

    I take another sip, and another; the can's already half empty, but it's OK, I have three more in the plastic bag at my feet. It's Friday, so I don't have to feel guilty about drinking on the train. TGIF. The fun starts here.

    It's going to be a lovely weekend, that's what they're telling us. Beautiful sunshine, cloudless skies. In the old days we might have driven to Corly Wood with a picnic and the papers, spent all afternoon lying on a blanket in dappled sunlight, drinking wine. We might have barbecued out back with friends, or gone to the Rose and sat in the beer garden, faces flushing with sun and alcohol as the afternoon went on, weaving home, arm in arm, falling asleep on the sofa.

    Beautiful sunshine, cloudless skies, no one to play with, nothing to do. Living like this, the way I'm living at the moment, is harder in the summer when there is so...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from November 10, 2014
    Rachel Watson, the principal narrator of Hawkins’s psychologically astute debut, is obsessed with her ex-husband, Tom. She’s having a hard time putting the past behind her, especially since she confronts it daily, during the hourlong commute to London from her rented room in Ashbury, Oxfordshire, when her train passes the Victorian house she once shared with Tom. She also frequently spies an attractive couple, four doors down from her former home, who she imagines to be enjoying the happily-ever-after that eluded her. Then, suddenly, the woman, pixie-ish blonde Megan Hipwell, vanishes—only to turn up on the front page of the tabloids as missing. The police want to question Rachel, after Anna, Tom’s new wife, tells them that Rachel was in the area drunkenly out of control around the time of Megan’s disappearance. Hawkins, formerly deputy personal finance editor of the Times of London, deftly shifts between the accounts of the addled Rachel, as she desperately tries to remember what happened, Megan, and, eventually, Anna, for maximum suspense. The surprise-packed narratives hurtle toward a stunning climax, horrifying as a train wreck and just as riveting. Agent: Lizzy Kremer, David Higham Associates (U.K.).

  • Kirkus

    Starred review from November 15, 2014
    Desperate to find lives more fulfilling than her own, a lonely London commuter imagines the story of a couple she's only glimpsed through the train window in Hawkins' chilling, assured debut, in which the line between truth and lie constantly shifts like the rocking of a train.Rachel Watson-a divorced, miserable alcoholic who's still desperately in love with her ex-husband, Tom-rides the same train every day into London for her dead-end job, one she unsurprisingly loses after one too many drunken outbursts. Continuing her daily commute to keep up appearances with her roommate, Rachel always pays special attention to a couple, whom she dubs "Jess and Jason," who live a seemingly idyllic life in a house near her own former home. When she sees a momentary act of infidelity, followed soon after by news that Jess-whose real name is Megan Hipwell-has disappeared, Rachel is compelled to share her secret knowledge, becoming enmeshed in the police investigation, which centers on Megan's husband, Scott. Further complicating matters is the fact that the night Megan vanished, Rachel has a hazy memory of drunkenly stumbling past the Hipwell home and seeing something she can't quite recall. Hawkins seamlessly moves among Rachel's present-day story as the investigation into Megan's disappearance widens, Megan's own life leading up to her disappearance, and snippets about Anna, the woman for whom Tom left Rachel. Even the most astute readers will be in for a shock as Hawkins slowly unspools the facts, exposing the harsh realities of love and obsession's inescapable links to violence.

    COPYRIGHT(2014) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    August 1, 2014
    A featured title at Day of Dialog's Editors' Picks panel, this debut thriller has a decided "Rear Window" feel, but the window in question belongs to the commuter train Rachel takes to London. From the train she always sees a couple peacefully breakfasting on their roof deck, a real stab in the heart after the breakup of her marriage. Then the woman of the house disappears. DreamWorks has acquired the film rights.

    Copyright 2014 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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