I was browsing my local book sellers a week or so after New Year and picked up a hardbound book on the fiction shelf. The cover was bright, green and black with blurred lines of type: The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins. “Ah yes, I think I heard of this, NPR, maybe?” I said to my buddy, Proprietor Wyn Morris. “It’s supposed to be the new Gone Girl,” Wyn nodded sagely. “Really?” “Indeed.” I plonked down my cash and took it home, vowing to place it at the top of the “to read” pile.
Here’s a link to the NPR review: http://www.npr.org/2015/01/13/376167043/girl-on-the-train-pays-homage-to-hitchcock.
Much like Gone Girl, there are exceedingly unreliable narrators though in this case, two women. One the girl of the title. She, Rachel, is on the train because she’s riding it into London, pretending to go to her office from which she’s been fired for getting wasted during a client lunch. The train trip also allows her to spy on her ex-husband’s house and the nearby home of a young married couple (Megan and Scott) around whom she has created a elaborate fantasy. As Rachel sips from yet another canned Gin & Tonic (yuck by the way), or pours herself a glass of wine from the brown paper bag on her tray table. I couldn’t help but think train travel must be quite a bit different in the UK, but then again, I’ve only travelled by train in the US once that I can think of so for all I know loads of people are carting canned G&T’s with them all over the place.
Megan is the second narrator of the novel. When Megan disappears, Rachel over-involves herself in helping Scott to find his wife. Unfortunately, since Rachel was near the scene of Megan’s disappearance and in a dead-drunk blackout, her help is mostly in name only.
It would be impossible to describe much more of the plot without ruining your read. I will say, for those who were disappointed in the conclusion of Gone Girl, you will not find the same frustration here. There is quite the corker of an ending.
Other than a breakfast of eggs and bacon, I don’t recall anyone eating any food in this book. There was an incredible amount of alcohol however. So I’ve taken that as my cue for menu planning:
1 (3-pound) chicken
House seasoning, recipe follows
1 (12-ounce) can beer
1 sprig rosemary
Preheat a charcoal grill over high heat. When the coals are hot and glowing, carefully push them over to the sides of the grill, leaving an open space in the middle of the grill. Wash and drain chicken. Coat the chicken inside and out with seasoned salt, pepper, lemon pepper and/or garlic powder. Open the can of beer and carefully insert a sprig of rosemary. Then, place the beer can into the body cavity starting at the rear of the chicken. Carefully place the chicken on the center of the grill, facing 1 of the banks of the coals, making sure not to spill the beer. Cover the grill and cook until chicken is done, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning the chicken as necessary. The chicken is done when the juice runs clear.
PASTA WITH GIN SAUCE
You’ve heard of vodka sauce? Well, Macheesmo says his Gin Penne Pasta is even better. I’m going to try it. It would go well with the Drunken Chicken and the book theme. Here’s the recipe link: http://www.macheesmo.com/2012/01/gin-penne-pasta/
Another great dessert would be POACHED PEARS
Peel (carefully) pears. If you want to serve whole, leave the stem intact. If you want to serve halves, core them and halve.
In a stainless steel pan, mix four cups red wine with one cup of sugar until sugar dissolves.
Place the pears in the pan, then cover them with a plate to weigh them down and ensure even cooking. Heat at simmer for ten minutes, then check doneness with a fork. Continue to simmer to taste. Remove the fruit with a slotted spoon and serve warm or store in the poaching liquid until ready to serve.
You’re Not Drinking Enough, Don Henley
Crazy, Patsy Cline
Crazy, Gnarls Barkley
Family Tradition, Hank Williams, Jr.
Five O’Clock Somewhere, Alan Jackson
Margaritaville, Jimmy Buffett
Friends in Low Places, Garth Brooks
Paula Hawkins’ Facebook page featured a link to a playlist created especially for The Girl on the Train: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLG3OkdArBbNCi2C0f_s1XttGebLGWFiCI.
This, by the way, has lots of potential for a movie.
Rachel — Kate Winslet
Megan — Sienna Miller
Anna — Carey Mulligan
Scott — Tom Hardy
Tom — Christian Bale
UPDATE: The movie version will come out later this year and I didn’t get a single actor right. The producers went with several American actors. Here’s a full list: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3631112/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm
Happy Reading, Eating & Moderate Drinking!