It is about trains and lovers as evident from the name. Alexander McCall Smith weaves his novel around four travelers in a train. He unveils four love stories which are in some way related to train journeys. The four travelers are from different parts of the world and are traveling to London when the story unfolds. The four main character go down their respective memory lanes. This is what Alexander McCall Smith captures beautifully using words.
There is suspension of disbelief necessary to read this. Can four strangers drop all pretenses and share intimate details about their life? I am not sure. Luckily, not all the four are open minded and forthcoming. There is a person inside the group who is very shy and his story is told by the author transgressing into the character's mind. The reason might be because that character's love story is not conventional and the author wants to play on the suspicion of the character towards the external world. What I mentioned above actually works for the book. Alexander McCall Smith switches between the conversation of these four people and also what goes through their minds. While switching to the conversation happening in their minds, the author gives us many philosophical gems. These gems are written so poetically and simplistically which makes the reader pause to absorb these mostly in the context of one's own experience. This is indeed the best part of the book.
The author deliberately does not tie up all the stories to give a perfect ending which has different effect on different readers. Sometimes, you keep the book down with the feeling of an unfinished journey. It was the effect on me. I agree these are four strangers sharing some intimate moments. But I would also like to have a closure.
If you are into trains and romance, give it a try. You will definitely like everything except the ending.
Tags: Books,Alexander McCall Smith,Trains,Lovers