Sep 172015


The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel
Alison Anderson (Translation)
Paperback: 170 pages
Publisher: New Vessel Press (November 10, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1939931266
ISBN-13: 978-1939931269


Cecile, a stylish 47-year-old, has spent the weekend visiting her parents in a provincial town southeast of Paris. By early Monday morning, she’s exhausted. These trips back home are always stressful and she settles into a train compartment with an empty seat beside her. But it’s soon occupied by a man she instantly recognizes: Philippe Leduc, with whom she had a passionate affair that ended in her brutal humiliation 30 years ago. In the fraught hour and a half that ensues, their express train hurtles towards the French capital. Cécile and Philippe undertake their own face to face journey—In silence? What could they possibly say to one another?—with the reader gaining entrée to the most private of thoughts. This is a brilliant psychological thriller, a high-wire act of emotions on rails, about past romance, with all its pain and promise.

I love books that take place in Paris so I knew as soon as I saw the title I wanted to read it. It’s a really short book at only 170 pages, but it’s impact on you will be huge.

Imagine being seated on a train with a ride of one and a half hours in front of you. Suddenly someone sits down in the empty seat beside you. Of course you look at the person. Now imagine that person is someone who you knew thirty years ago. A person you had an affair with. A person who hurt you badly and embarrassed you terribly. What would go through your mind? What would go through his? This is the situation that Cecile and Philippe find themselves in. In this book you’ll read the thoughts and conversations of Cecile and Philippe, told in alternate chapters.

I loved getting into the heads of Cecile and Philippe. I can’t imagine being in that situation. I would just not say anything and pretend to sleep 🙂

This is a book unlike any I’ve ever read, and it is well worth the time it takes to read it. I would definitely recommend this book.


portrait de Jean-philippe Blondel Jean-Philippe Blondel was born in 1964 in Troyes, France where he lives as an author and English teacher.
His novel The 6:41 to Paris has been a bestseller in both France and Germany.


About The Translator
Alison Anderson is a novelist and translator of literature from French. Among the authors she has translated are JMG Le Clézio, Christian Bobin, Muriel Barbery and Amélie Nothomb. She has lived in Northern California and currently lives in a village in Switzerland.


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 Posted by at 1:00 AM

  7 Responses to “The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel”

  1. sounds very interesting.. I have to add it to my TBR list

  2. thanks for your very nice review. So glad this unique book is getting so many nice reviews like yours. Emma at FBT

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  5. This does sound intriguing and incredibly unique. The length sounds about right as well as I think if it would too long it would be hard to keep it interesting. I’m right with you. I’d feign total lack of recognition and spend the rest of the time pretending to be asleep!

  6. Oh, I really want to read this one! I just checked and our library doesn’t have it 🙁 It’s going on my wish list.

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