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The Girl On The Train: Why adapting the ultimate commuting novel makes perfect sense in a world of Brief Encounters

The Girl On The Train: Why adapting the ultimate commuting novel makes perfect sense in a world of Brief Encounters

O'Thomas, Mark ORCID: 0000-0001-9264-8813 (2016) The Girl On The Train: Why adapting the ultimate commuting novel makes perfect sense in a world of Brief Encounters. The Huffington Post.

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Abstract

The Girl On The Train is this autumn's most anticipated movie and comes fast on the heels of the monumental success of Paula Hawkins' debut novel. The book has established itself as a constant presence on the suburban transport networks around London where reading Girl en route to work has made for the ultimate meta-commuting experience - reading about commuting on a train while commuting on a train. Last week, on my way to Fenchurch Street station in the City of London, I counted three people reading the book on various devices as well as an analogue paper copy, all seemingly captivated by the same meandering narrative. The ironically asocial nature of the mutual experience of coming together to make a journey with defined and definitive end points (in other words, commuting from A. to B.) has long seen commuters burying their heads in a book, or its electronic variants of smartphone and tablet, closing off the proximity of others who are engaging in their own equally separate-but-joined activities. Hawkins' novel successfully tapped into this shared experience; an experience that synthesises proximity and distance - the closeness of bodies trapped in confined spaces while moving through space each locked in their own personal universe. With its dark themes of guilt, betrayal and murder, comparisons with Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl are inevitable - another suspense novel that successfully crossed over into film - although Hawkins could find some solace in The Guardian's verdict that her work presents "a less flashy but altogether more solid creation". Optioning the title for film was clearly a no-brainer as the rights were sewn up well before the book's publication date. But why does The Girl On The Train, and stories about commuting on trains in general, appear to be so popular in the adaptation genre?

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The Blog
Uncontrolled Keywords: The Girl on the Train, adaptation, Brief Encounter
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities
Faculty of Architecture, Computing & Humanities > Department of Literature, Language & Theatre
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2018 11:30
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/21774

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