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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life is the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure. In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, you can find an archive list at the bottom of this page.

Thursday, June 4

The Girl on the Train

I’ve just started the book everyone seems to be reading and talking about, Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train. Already I’m reminded of Gilliam Flynn’s Gone Girl in the confusing point of view with too many flashbacks and the duplicitous female character. I’m an old-school guy in my reading. I like narratives that move from point A in time to point B. I like my characters to be clearly who they say they are as they narratively move from A to B. In The Girl on the Train, we begin with Rachel in a first-person narration, and a strange girl she is, verging on alcoholic, verging on stalker of her ex-husband Tom. And then we shift to a year earlier with a first-person narration by Megan, a woman so equally strange that I didn’t even notice she wasn’t Rachel until I got to the end of the chapter. Next chapter, headed with the designation “Rachel,” I had to go all the way back to the beginning to reread and rectify my reading error. Okay, I know this will all begin to make better sense as I read on, just as the Gillian Flynn plot made more and more sense the further I went. But I still can’t help but feel slightly annoyed that I’m being led by the nose by the author. I’m not a stupid reader, having well over sixty years of avid reading under my belt, and I’m not a lazy reader, content to be titillated by Fifty Shades of Gray and its ilk. I also don’t need to be tested by convoluted plot lines and complex narrative devices. Faulkner was an amazing writer, but one who wasn’t every reader’s cup of tea. But Mark Twain didn’t need to test me with his straightforward narration in Huck Finn, nor F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby, nor Ernest Hemingway in A Farewell to Arms. So, Paula Hawkins, make me a believer in your narrative art, just as Gillian Flynn did, just as Kate Atkinson did in Life After Life. I’ll have more to say about the train girl after I’ve finished her tale.

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