Review: The 6:41 to Paris by Jean-Philippe Blondel


My Interest

It’s always that ONE book you fail to add to your longer-than-lifespan Goodreads TBR that nags at you, am I right? I’d all but given up finding this (yes, a librarian is admitting to stumping herself!) when it popped up serendipitously in a book list. I immediately requested it from the library even though it was not to be had on audio.

The Story

“No one ever warned us that life would be long.” (p. 52)

I liked the whole premise of the book: Two passengers, who were briefly lovers in their first years of adulthood, find themselves seated side-by-side on a normal commuter train in late middle-age. As the journey continues, each tries to speak up and acknowledge the other while reliving their past relationship via flashbacks. Their emotions so conflicted, the story jerks along like a local train. When finally the chance to speak comes…. [No spoilers].

What I Liked

I liked the very ordinariness of both characters. Even though one was a greater success professionally, they were both utterly ordinary. Neither was brilliant. Neither had those magical, color-changing eyes or a profound wit. They were what they were: a 40-something executive and a 40-something salesperson. Both with spouse and family. But with a few weeks of shared past. That was all. Yet it was enough to tie them in emotional knots after all the years that had passed.

At 148 pages, this is either a long novella or a very short novel. Regardless, the length was exactly right.


The 6:41 to Paris  by Jean-Philippe Blondel, translated by Alison Anderson


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