Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Trains and Lovers - Book Review

After years of cinematic indoctrination, the train remains the most romantic form of travel. In Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith (well known for the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series) , four strangers begin talking with each other on the train. During their travels, they share their stories of love. In each story, a train plays a roll in the romance.

People are often more willing to open up to strangers about their deepest emotions. I've had deep and meaningful conversations with strangers on airplanes about religion and family--often sharing much more than I would with my neighbor. Millions of people share the details of their lives on Twitter and other social media. So, it is not surprising that on this trip across England, four people would divulge the stories of their love lives and deepest emotions.

I rather enjoyed the seemingly disconnected stories and the ingenious way Smith manages to tie the various tales together with the train association. The connection does not feel forced but flows naturally as a conversation would. The focus moves to the various forms and types of love.

Trains and Lovers is spare and free from literary fluff. It's a little, afternoon treat. I was thoroughly delighted by the brief tales. Smith, a very talented writer, creates fully developed characters, engaging stories and a thoughtful discussion is such a brief book. Will Strunk and E.B. White would surely be ecstatic by this fabulous example of brevity.

Trains and Lovers by Alexander McCall Smith from Pantheon was published in June 2013.

**I received a complimentary copy of of Trains and Lovers in exchange for my honest review. No additional compensation was received and all opinions are my own.**

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