Every now and again there comes along a book that’s so special it makes you look at life a little differently, makes you question what you think you know and choices you have made. The writing is so evocative and lyrical, which is at complete odds as the subjects are dark and harrowing, but it works, boy does it work.
The main protagonist Lisa is a ghost, wandering Peterborough Railway Station, she knows she has died but doesn’t know who she is. As she pieces together shots of memory with information she overhears from the station staff you learn of the life she lead and the people she knew. This is the real strength of the book, the characters are people you may know in your everyday life, the best friend who has your back, the mum and dad who are annoying but you love all the same, the boyfriend who isn’t right for you but it’s better than being alone. The drab ordinary settings of a Railway station and a poky flat and the monotony of a mundane life. This could have been a really depressing read but Louise has magically turned it into an ultimately uplifting life affirming tale.
The small observations about the clock changes made me realise I was reading something completely different to anything I had read before. Louise Doughty notices things and in turn you start noticing things too.
This isn’t an easy read, it’s a story of suicide, mental health, gaslighting, domestic abuse, loss and grief but what I took from it more than anything is it’s about love in all forms and the connections we make.
About the author
Platform Seven is Louise Doughty’s ninth novel. Her most recent book was Black Water, which was published in 2016 to critical acclaim in the UK and US, where it was nominated as one of the New York TimesNotable Books of the Year. Her Top Ten bestseller Apple Tree Yard sold over half a million copies in the UK alone and was adapted for BBC One as a four-part series starring Emily Watson. She has been nominated for the Orange Prize for fiction and the Costa Novel award and her work has been translated into thirty languages. She lives in London.
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