This month we discussed Paula Hawkins “The Girl on the Train”
This is part of a new phenomena, brought about by the success of Gillian Flynn’s ‘Gone Girl’, which includes flawed, unlikable protagonists, suspense, and a few twists and turns.
Most members of the group enjoyed this book, but some were put off because they we couldn’t relate to any of the characters. We all agreed that none of the major characters were particularly likable.
All but one person thought it was well written for a first novel, and enjoyed the way that the author gradually revealed information about the characters. Seemingly normal situations were not what they first seemed to be.
We talked about the way in which Rachel, when drunk, justified her actions so that they seemed normal. This contrasted with the dread she felt when she became sober and realised what she’d done. This led to a discussion on the lies people tell to themselves and others as a way of boosting their self-esteem and avoiding ugly truths.
Discussion moved on to the imperfections of memory; how events are perceived differently by different people depending on their viewpoint. We talked about the way in which memories are often triggered by smells and sounds.
We thought that Anna had a stronger personality than Rachel; Rachel’s inability to have children had undermined her self-esteem and confidence.
Next month we are reading Ben Elton’s “Time and Time Again”
It’s the 1st of June 1914 and Hugh Stanton, ex-soldier and celebrated adventurer is quite literally the loneliest man on earth. No one he has ever known or loved has been born yet. Perhaps now they never will be.
Stanton knows that a great and terrible war is coming. A collective suicidal madness that will destroy European civilization and bring misery to millions in the century to come. He knows this because, for him, that century is already history.
Somehow he must change that history. He must prevent the war. A war that will begin with a single bullet. But can a single bullet truly corrupt an entire century?
And, if so, could another single bullet save it?