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Strangers on a Train – Patricia Highsmith. Reviewed by Banana Girl (12)

Funny how little things can change lives in a massive scale. A chance meeting in a cafe, for example or a library. Or on a train. Let me introduce you to Guy Haines, your average American Architect, who is doing well with his job, but has a few family troubles to do with his manipulative and scandalous wife Miriam and her boyfriend – but that will all be over in a bit, after Guy and Miriam get divorced, and he can marry his nice girlfriend, Anne. Everything is planned. Everything will be fine. But of course nothing goes to plan ( or we wouldn’t have a particularly interesting story now, would we? ) because on a train to meet Miriam to discuss their affairs, he meets Bruno, your average American, alcoholic psychopath who also has a plan – for a double murder.

You see, Bruno hates his father, and Guy hates his wife. The idea is that Bruno murders Miriam, and Guy kills Bruno’s father, but no one would be able to catch them because no one would know that they had met before. Guy thinks it is silly idea, and dismisses it, but after Bruno tracks down and kills Miriam, Guy is caught up in a whirlwind of lies, truths and blackmail. Cornered into murdering a man he had never met, Guy is faced with choices you would never want to make yourself and forced to do things you would never want to do.

This book is full of danger and suspense, as we watch two men battling with each other both physically and mentally. Because it is so well written I also found myself sympathising with people I didn’t expect to. I wouldn’t say that this book is about Guy’s descent into madness or doubtfulness, but more his ascending to become a different person, although whether that’s for the better or for the worse, it’s up to you to decide.

This book has also been made into a film by Alfred Hitchcock, which I haven’t seen yet, but can’t wait to.

Also, just to note that although I would recommend this book to others of my age, this is an adult book.

Strangers on a train drawing


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