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Platform Seven by Louise Doughty


I became familiar with this author through her earlier book, “Apple Tree Yard” which was made into a TV series.

As the title suggests, the majority of the story revolves around a railway station, the Peterborough Railway Station to be exact. At the start of the book we meet a man who is contemplating the edge of the platform. We assume that the narrator is a station worker who is responding to the incident. But as you read on you realise that the narrator isn’t what you think. Told through the eyes of Lisa Evans, she reveals to us (slowly) how she came to be connected to the station.

We see the world through the eyes of Lisa. She likes to keep an eye on the comings and goings of the station, from the offices of the railway staff, to the cafes and newsstands that the passengers stop at. She starts taking an interest in particular staff members and passengers, their lives, their ‘story’. The breakthrough is when Lisa realises that she isn’t just confined to the station, but can, in fact roam around the surrounding area. As she increases her exploring activity her own story starts to emerge. At this point the narrative shifts as she takes us through her own experiences.

I thoroughly enjoyed the way that Doughty has used a non-conventional narrator to tell her own story and the stories of the other characters. Doughty not only tells a ripping good yarn, but she also uses the story as a ‘platform’ to explore the weighty issue of manipulation and emotional abuse in relationships. I not only enjoyed this book, but I found it very easy to keep engaged in the story. I recommend it.

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