❴Reading❵ ➺ The London Train Author Tessa Hadley – Pdfr25.co



10 thoughts on “The London Train

  1. says:

    I am a huge Tessa Hadley fan have loved all her books and was so excited for this one to come out And I wasn t disappointed It is all the things I ve adored about her previous work subtly, beautifully written smart about what it means to be human I was fascinated by the comments that remark on how unpleasant both of the main characters are, I suppose because I could see that but wasn t put off by it in fact, it s one of the things I find most moving about Hadley s work her ability to create characters who don t behave particularly well, but who are, in spite or because of that behavior, deeply human and sympathetic I felt for both Paul and Cora, though if they were real people and I actually knew them I might not like them very much And even though my outward circumstances are very different from theirs, I found myself empathizing, too I think that s part of Hadley s genius as a writer she finds what is most human and most loveable in her characters and is able to communicate that in a quietly gorgeous way Plus she intuits, and then is able to describe with incredible accuracy, feelings and thoughts that seem totally real to me, but that don t often get acknowledged in fiction or anywhere else That s part of what gives her writing such depth that enormous attention to what is usually hidden in us I kept stumbling on sentences that describe beautifully, memorably something I d felt, even though I hadn t even been aware of it at the time The fact that she gives words to the inner life makes her work an essential companion for me.


  2. says:

    Many months ago, I stumbled upon a short story by Tessa Hadley in The New Yorker I think the story ended up being a section of her latest novel, Clever Girl I was instantly absorbed by her writing and ended up reading the rest of her New Yorker stories The London Train is my first novel to read of hers Set in London and Cardiff, it s the interconnected story of two people and how they find an inner meaning to their lives after suffering personal loss The plot synopsis on here is adequate, so there s no need to be redundant This, like all of Hadley s writing I ve read so far, is the brilliant illumination of the inner life She exposes her characters thoughts, emotions, and reasons for the choices they make Hadley conjures Stanislavsky s method for getting to the bottom of a truth Why do we do what we do Why do we behave the way we behave What is true and what makes it so Hadley uses stunning, precise prose Here s a sentence I underlined for its beautiful construction, Cottages that were once homes of agricultural labourers fetched stockbrokers prices now, as if the countryside was under some sick enchantment, in which the substance of things was invisibly replaced with only a simulacrum of itself I don t live in Whales, nor have I spent much time in the UK, but with just one sentence, Hadley highlights the friction between the urbanite English and rural Welsh and makes it possible for a reader a half world away to be almost present The London Train is the first book I m reading in a Goodreads Group The Year of Reading Women More discussion about this book can be found there.


  3. says:

    The writing in this is wonderful The sentences, the paragraphs, and the narrator I listened to the audiobook carried me along But when I think about the story, I really didn t like this book.We meet an unlikable man who deserts his wife to move in with his unlikable pregnant daughter and her unlikable friends in a shabby flat in London Then one day he leaves and goes back to his wife This is the first half of the book Then we meet an unlikable woman who is separated from her civil servant husband We spend some time with her boring life and then she meets the guy you know, the one we spent the first half of the book learning to dislike on the train Their brief encounter is told solely from her perspective and then it ends The description of this book and the writing made me expect so much Very disappointing.


  4. says:

    A friend of mine says life is curly, not lived in a straight line Tessa Hadley writes beautifully of the curly shape of our contemporary lives take She writes with exceptional clarity of people s thoughts and feelings as they experience detours, re routings, and switchbacks The sudden and surprising departures from normal that the characters experience shape their decisions and change them irrevocably in both grand and subtle ways Many of these decisions seem so wrong headed, even whacky, but they are what propel the characters on their curly, sometimes circuitous, paths Hadley tells their story vividly and without judgment I thought the narrator of the audio book, Juanita McMahon, did a great job of bringing the book to life.


  5. says:

    Tessa Hadley keeps proving herself as the kind of writer whose books get better and better London Train is her fifth novel and I have to say it was wonderful.It was on the long list for the 2011 Orange Prize Most of the novel is divided into the story of two separate characters but don t think short stories Think like Carol Shields Republic of Love Story one is about Paul He lives a thoughtful life in Cardiff with wife 2 and children s 2 and 3 He s a poet and a father and an about to be midlife crisis man His eldest daughter, Pia, 1, is the one whose life he s a part timer in She lives with her Mother Paul s life of comfort and untested intellectual liberality is put to the point when Pia disappears and is found pregnant, living in squalor in London with her illegal boyfriend Story two is about Clara She is seeking peace Clara has spent 25 years working hard teaching other people s children Her parents have recently passed away and her marriage is in trouble Clara s much older husband is facing disciplinary actions at work Like Paul, Clara is a relatively untried liberal intellectual whose life is suddenly in a crisis Clara moves from the anxiety of her London life to take a job as a librarian in Cardiff When Hadley takes these strangers on a train and adds a touch of Brief Encounter you have London Train In fact this novel really is a contemporary retelling of Brief Encounter It has the same domestic responsibilities and virtues verses romance and freedom theme Oh and trains too In Hadley s version we learn much about the lives of the characters than we do in Brief Encounter Like Coward s Laura and Alec, Paul and Clara have reached middle age relatively unscathed and with dreams of hearth and home if not completely intact then at least still glimmering Unlike Laura and Alec, Hadley s characters are not quietly noble, restrained, proper people Paul and Clara have left their self absorbed little fingerprints all over their messy lives After five very enjoyable novels Tessa Hadley is an old hand at making troubled relationships fresh and entertaining She stirs up London Train a bit by playing fast and loose with chronological order Hadley has made London Train an observationally acute examination of choices and a terrific read Time to wait for novel 6.


  6. says:

    I picked this up as it jumped out of the Orange Prize longlist at me Not quite sure why it did that as I ve never heard of the author before and I don t remember what I read about it or where All I can remember is something about it being a book of two halves and that they are linked.I thought it was a great story and one I don t want to say much about as I think all the reviews I ve just flicked through newspaper ones mainly give away far too much about the characters and the story I enjoyed coming to it cold with few expectations Not knowing where how why the links would come was good and they didn t come where I thought they were going to though the reviews casually mention them as if they are obvious Hadley paints some great character portraits here There s a class issue underlying some of the relationships which I thought was a bit shakily explored But on the whole I thought the characters were well drawn and fully fleshed out And going with the book of two halves thing there are really two endings Neither of which were quite what I expected and mostly I m glad the author left us at those points.An author I ll be looking out for again for sure.


  7. says:

    I read three Tessa Hadley novels back to back at the time of the publication of her 2019 release Late in the DayThere s too much that s similar in the ones I ve read and I am in no hurry to reach out for others in the back catalogue.I m left with the feeling that I want to metaphorically shake every single character Sex dominates the plots Couplings abound, and since the reader can spot them coming a mile off, and their total recklessness and destructiveness, it rather diminishes any deeper or original messages.I could have written the preceding paragraphs here about all three of the books I read The specifics of The London Train are that a young woman s Pia father Paul is seemingly incapable of restraint he s already twice married His come on to Anna, his daughter s boyfriend s sister is particularly random and unsatisfactory for the reader.A second, almost stand alone, story, includes, separately, two lumbering incompetents Robert and Gerald , both of whom are deeply uninteresting.Some Hadley s phraseology irked me too, and this was a sign that the book had lost me the empty roads weren t banal as they were in the day Banal.roads The middle class marital shenanigans dominate, and it s a pity that some of Hadley s prescient allusions were lost this is a book written in 2011 Robert works in the new Borders and Immigration Agency reference is made to climate change and to Barbara Hepworth Greenham Common.Not a book I would recommend.


  8. says:

    Really fascinating novel about the lives of two people In a very elegant prose the author describes their lives and their brief meeting On the surface not a lot happens in this novel, but the psychology and thoughts make it a delicious book.


  9. says:

    Even before Tessa Hadley s The London Train got on to the Orange Prize longlist, I told Trish of TLC Book Tours that I simply had to read it And as I sat here waiting for my copy, I found that made it to the longlist and even though I hadn t yet read it, was hoping to see it on the shortlist as well That didn t happen, but I was still glad to finally start reading this very literary book last week The London Train is actually two short stories in one book Or as is the trend now with short stories two seemingly unconnected stories which are irrevocably connected Getting into this book, I wasn t aware that there were two distinct stories When I did know of it, I would have been a tad disappointed had they not been linked We start off reading about our first protagonist Paul, and the trip he makes to Birmingham, where his mother has just passed away at an assisted living facility He is clearly unhinged by her death, even though it was probably unsurprising The next day, he gets a call from his first wife who tells him that their 20 year old daughter, Pia is missing When he finally finds Pia in London, he finds her staying in the most unexpected environment pregnant with a Polish lover who was several years elder to her in a cramped untidy apartment that belonged to the Polish guy s sister He is completely entranced by what he sees that he moves in with them.In the other story, Cora separates from her husband, Robert, a civil servant who is facing an inquiry at work She also leaves her career and moves back to Wales, where she chooses to work in a library Robert and his sister, Frankie, who is also Cora s best friend want her to reconsider, to return back to Robert, but Cora has decided there is no other lover, she just wants her solitude The guarded manner in which she holds herself, not letting a single weak emotion betray her shows that she is hiding something, but it isn t until a third of the story in that we really find out The London Train is a very literary work one of the best I ve read in that category It took me a while to realize that this is not a book to be rushed Rather, each word, sentence and phrase has to be savored There is really very little that happens in this book If I had to summarize the stories, I probably won t need than a few sentences to tell you what happens from the first to the last page But none of that would make much sense without actually living the novel The feelings of despair, loneliness, anxiety, and confusion that the characters feel literally jump out of the page I ended up feeling the same as the characters as I was reading the book Paul was clearly very unlikeable He did have some good attributes, but his annoying characteristics were dominant Rather than bring Pia home or leave her free to do as she wished, as any self respecting father would do, Paul gets enchanted with her decision and wants to live life in the unsafe lane Maybe that s his mid life crisis Besides, even with a supporting wife and two wonderful kids at home, and the recent death of his mother haunting him, he was disillusioned with his life enough to let go of himself and allow circumstances to take over.Cora, on the other hand, is too guarded After her parents deaths, she revamps their home intending to sell it, but eventually moving into it The care she puts into maintaining the house s facade and the worry that festers in her mind about anything getting disturbed pretty much mimics the state of her mind She puts the same energy into masking herself, so much so that she is not able to connect with her best friend at all For the first many pages, the reader gets the impression that Cora s husband, Robert is just too predictable, too formulaic a person for Cora to handle and so she leaves him Which is partly true I found it interesting how the rest of the story tumbled out I got the sensation that the author was probably teasing the reader, hinting that appearances are deceptive.The stories are clearly only about Paul and Cora As with most literary novels, the book left me wondering about the arcs of some of the other characters As opposed to general fiction, where all characters are usually accounted for by the last page, literary fiction such as this stress on the mystery and continuity of life Paul and Cora are clearly very flawed human beings And reading from the perspective of such characters makes for an interesting experience Most of the narration happens from Paul s and Cora s perspectives Though sometimes we get a hint of what the others are thinking, to round up the picture I won t spill out any details of the time when their stories intersect, but I did feel that that event had of a bearing on Cora s life than on Paul s I see something of this sort in many of the books I read the woman gets even strongly impacted than the man You could also see that while Cora tries to set her life in order, Paul tries to upset the status quo I do think married couples need their own moments of privacy often, but I found it disappointing that Paul found it convenient to just disappear for weeks The London Train is however not without its demerits While the author s writing made the characters feelings very personal to me, I found it very detached as well The hyphenated form of conversation was distracting You re joking, Paul said Your dad s crazy, he s really crazy For a book of this type, I would never suggest the double quotes as a suitable alternative, because that might lend it a sentiment of triviality focus will end up being stressed on the conversations themselves as opposed to what the conversations were meant to evoke in the characters and the reader I do feel that s a fine and necessary line But I would have preferred a better way of printing those conversations sometimes I just wasn t sure if it was a conversation or not Maybe it doesn t matter the whole stories were probably meant to happen in my head.I took my own time to rate this book Halfway through this book, I felt it was a mixed bag for me, but I ve been thinking of the book ever since Which usually means it s pretty thought provoking Besides, I absolutely love the title of the book mainly because once I realized where it came from, it felt smart, succinct and with a world of secrets in that title This is not a preachy kind of book, in the sense that there are no messages or lessons that you could garner out of it But it left me thinking about the characters, wondering about their fallibility and their unique responses How their actions are not just a result of their desires and impulses but also some specific triggers in their lives that make them want to escape And how most importantly, an action can be judged right or wrong in isolation, but it s not that simple when looked at in context.


  10. says:

    Tessa Hadley s novel The London Train is written in two parts and in two distinct voices that of Paul and Cora It is a story about identity, one s place in family and society, about memory and forgetting and the small things in lifePaul is a middling middle aged author, married for the second time and with one daughter from his first and two small daughters from his second marriage When, Pia the twenty year old drops out of university and then disappears, he leaves his comfortable Welsh ountry life for London in search of her He does find her and surprising developments and discoveries start from there It takes him some time to discover that he may be in the middle of a midlife crisis his actions are not quite convincing to his two wives, his daughter and also himself.The second part takes us back a few years and we meet Cora, a young woman leaving London for Cardiff where she restores her late mother s house Her life and marriage in London had left her unfulfilled and she is yearning for the quiet simple life in the country It is not difficult to guess that the two protagonists meet on the London train of the title and their lives intertwine for a while In the process we learn about Paul, less about Cora and even less about the other characters in the novel Here two quotes, characterizing Paul and Cora Paul had been like that since when he was young always drawn on by news from elsewhere, always wanting to be beginning again in a new place But then he had changed his mind, and had wanted to be rooted instead. Cora imagined herself in an outpost of culture, far removed from the hub, like a country doctor in a Chechov story, ordering books from Moscow. Tessa Hadley writes fluidly and sensitively the story is captivating in its own quiet way We get a sense of the landscape in and around Cardiff and we see a side of London that fits the story While the drama builds continuously, I did find the ending somewhat too simple There was a sudden rush that didn t seem fully justified One recommendation to readers don t read any of the publication blurbs they give too much away of the story.


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The London Train The London Train Is A Novel In Two Parts, Separate But Wound Together Around A Single Moment, Examining In Vivid Detail Two Lives Stretched Between Two Cities Paul Lives In The Welsh Countryside With His Wife Elise, And Their Two Young Children The Day After His Mother Dies He Learns That His Eldest Daughter Pia, Who Was Living With His Ex Wife In London, Has Moved Out From Home And Gone Missing He Sets Out In Search Of Pia, And When He Eventually Finds Her, Living With Her Lover In A Chaotic Flat In A Tower Block In King S Cross, He Thinks At First He Wants To Rescue Her But The Search For His Daughter Begins A Period Of Unrest And Indecision For Paul He Is Drawn Closer To The Hub Of London, To The Excitements Of A Life Lived In Jeopardy, To Pia S Fragile New Family Paul S A Pessimist When A Heat Wave Scorches The Capital Week After Week He Fears That They Are All Sleep Walking To The Edge Of A Great Pit, Like Spoiled Trusting ChildrenIn The Opposite Direction, Cora Is Moving Back To Cardiff, To The House She Has Inherited From Her Parents She Is Escaping Her Marriage, And The Constrictions And Disappointments Of Her Life In London At Work In The Local Library, She Is Interrupted By A Telephone Call From Her Sister In Law And Best Friend, To Say That Her Husband Has DisappearedConnecting Both Stories Is The London Train, And A Chance Meeting That Will Have Immediate And Far Reaching Consequences For Both Paul And For Cora The London Train Is A Vivid And Absorbing Account Of The Impulses And Accidents That Can Shape Our Lives, Alongside Our Ideas About Loyalty, Love,sex And The Complicated Bonds Of Friends And Family Penetrating, Perceptive, And Wholly Absorbing, It Is An Extraordinary New Novel From One Of The Best Writers Working In Britain Today