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The London train / Tessa Hadley.

By: Hadley, Tessa.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : Jonathan Cape, 2011Description: 324 pages ; 23 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780224090971 (hbk.); 0224090976 (hbk.).Subject(s): Railroad travel -- Great Britain -- Fiction | Fathers and daughters -- Fiction | Single women -- Fiction | Families -- Fiction | Life change events -- Fiction | Railway travel -- Great Britain -- Fiction | London (England) -- Fiction | Cardiff (Wales) -- FictionGenre/Form: General fiction.DDC classification: 823.92
Contents:
The London train -- Only children.
Summary: 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 children'. In 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 disappeared. Connecting 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.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Paul is a writer living in the Welsh countryside with his wife Elise, and their young family. The day after his mother dies he learns that his daughter Pia, who was living with his ex-wife in London, has left her university course and moved out from home. He sets out in search of Pia, and finds her pregnant and living with an older man.

The London train -- Only children.

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 children'. In 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 disappeared. Connecting 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.

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

In her fourth novel, Hadley (The Master Bedroom) follows the lives of two middle-aged intellectuals whose trajectories briefly cross and make a profound impact on the other. Paul is a literary critic somewhat dissatisfied with his bucolic home life in Wales. He is the father of three daughters, the oldest of whom has suddenly gone missing. Paul locates her pregnant and squatting in a London flat and decides to join her. Cora is a die-hard liberal teacher, married to a much older civil servant facing disciplinary charges. She leaves him in London to take a library clerk position in her hometown in Wales. Their stories are told separately. And while both flee the conventions of marriage, in the end both discover that their marriages may survive. VERDICT Hadley's writing is beautiful; her Sunstroke and Other Stories was a New York Times notable book. Lovers of character-driven literary fiction will enjoy this novel. However, readers looking for fast-paced, plot-driven fiction will find it difficult to identify with protagonists whose self-centered angst is somewhat indefinable.-Andrea Kempf, formerly with Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

Hadley's fourth novel (after The Master Bedroom) is at once a melancholy and delightful story about Paul, a poet and father of three going through a midlife crisis in a small town outside of Cardiff, Wales, and Cora, a woman from his past whose impact on his life is minimal, and yet, for the reader, pivotal. What begins as an argument with a neighbor spirals into a domestic meltdown that sends Paul storming out and traveling to London to find Pia, his daughter from a former marriage, who, as it turns out, is pregnant, has dropped out of school, and is living in an illegal flat with her boyfriend. Paul, unsure how he should act, teeters back and forth from father figure to thrilled participant in her chaotic existence. Cora, on the other hand, has taken refuge from London in her recently deceased parents' house in Cardiff after separating from her husband and now enjoys the simplicity and the quiet of the country. Her narrative fleshes out the connection she has to Paul and reveals him to be a much weaker man than he'd like to acknowledge while simultaneously offering a smart take on starting over. Hadley's twin narratives are perfectly tuned and heavy with lacerating observations about the way fate works. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

In what seems at first a bifurcated novel, both protagonists take the London train. Paul, a writer with two small daughters in his second marriage, travels from his home in Wales to London to find his pregnant 20-year-old daughter from his first marriage. Poised on the brink of freedom, he temporarily leaves his new family behind. Cora, an English teacher who traveled from her London flat to Cardiff to remodel her late parents' home, in which she now lives, is poised to divorce her senior civil servant husband, who's embroiled in an increasingly volatile investigation. Years before, Paul's and Cora's lives intersected when they met on the London train. In spare, incisive prose, Hadley (The Master Bedroom, 2008) probes this pair of only children marked by the deaths of their mothers, playing with chronology to lay open the pasts that shaped them. This is a keenly perceptive and wise novel, illustrating that however important the past is in our lives, only the present, glimpsed in the final pages, truly matters.--Leber, Michel. Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Welsh novelist and short-story writer Hadley (Sunstroke, 2007, etc.), combines forms in these two subtle, subtly related stories, one about a man whose life goes into free fall as a father and husband, the second about his barely remembered lover who has let idealized memory dangerously impact her life.Literary critic Paul lives on a Welsh farm with his aristocratic but earthy second wife Elise and their little girls. Shortly after his English working-class mother dies, Paul's first wife calls to say their daughter Pia has dropped out of college in London and disappeared. Paul secretly tracks down Pia, pregnant and living with a charismatic Polish immigrant and his sexy sister. After a fight with Elise, Paul moves in with Pia and her lover. He returns to Elise contrite, but she has her own secrets and is less than wholehearted in her welcoming.When Pia leaves the Poles and comes to Wales to face her pregnancy more squarely, Paul and Elise begin to find their way back to each other. At some point, passing mention is made of Paul's brief adultery years earlier with a "girl" in Cardiff; that "girl" is Cora. Cora has recently moved from London back to Cardiff and separated from her much older husband Robert after 12 years of marriage. For years, she and Robert, a well-placed official in the Home Office, tried without success to have a baby until she made the false assumption that Robert was only humoring her. Three years ago, while renovating her parents' Cardiff house after their deaths, she met Paul on the London train and carried on a passionate affair that Paul ended unaware she was pregnant. When she miscarried, she again misread (and underestimated) Robert, who guessed the baby was not his. Guilt and continuing obsession with Paul keep Cora away from Robert until he goes missing himself. Ultimately, Cora and Robert, like Paul and Elise, must decide what really matters.Hadley exposes all the pitfalls inherent in relationships, yet miraculously leaves the reader buoyant with hope.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.