Alison Anderson (Translation)
Publisher: New Vessel Press (November 10, 2015)
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.