Review: The Railwayman’s Wife – Ashley Hay

In a small town on the land’s edge, in the strange space at a war’s end, a widow, a poet and a doctor each try to find their own peace, and their own new story. On the south coast of New South Wales, in 1948, people chase their dreams through the books in the railway’s library. Anikka Lachlan searches for solace after her life is destroyed by a single random act. Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of war, has lost his words and his hope. Frank Draper is trapped by the guilt of those his treatment and care failed on their first day of freedom. All three struggle with the same question: how now to be alive. Written in clear, shining prose and with an eloquent understanding of the human heart, The Railwayman’s Wife explores the power of beginnings and endings, and how hard it can be sometimes to tell them apart. It’s a story of life, loss and what comes after; of connection and separation, longing and acceptance. Most of all, it celebrates love in all its forms, and the beauty of discovering that loving someone can be as extraordinary as being loved yourself.
My thoughts:
I enjoyed this book. It was quiet, reflective and sad. I liked how it was written, sometimes the style does not work but here it certainly did.  Maybe cos of the sad reflective style of it all.
Anikka is married to Mac. But something happens and shatters her life. She shares the story with Frank, a doctor who saw horrors in the war, and Roy, a poet struggling to write after the war. They all deal with going on with life, in one way or another. As they all live close to each other they meet.
The book jumps a bit, but just as I mind it in some books, I do not mind at all here. It fits the style. She thinks back and shares those memories with us.
It’s not a book where you should expect drama or fireworks. But it was still a book I read fast and could not put down. I would recommend it and I feel like I should read more books set in Australia. I do always like them. There is just something about them.
One thing though, I never did understand where from her dad came from. See, she can speak a bit of Finnish, ok so she is Finnish? Well then she talks about her dad and a thunder God, sure it could be but I am thinking more of Norse myths here. And she said something about coming from Scandinavia, Finland is not a part of Scandinavia. But her name would be more Finnish, but her dad’s name is Swedish. Haha, yes I nitpick, I am a Swedish speaking Finn after all.
Anyway, a wonderful story even with it’s sadness. It also shows how some manages to move forward and some gets stuck.
Would I read more by this author?

Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 2nd 2014 by Allen & Unwin (first published January 1st 2013)
For review


44 thoughts on “Review: The Railwayman’s Wife – Ashley Hay

  1. Blodeuedd says:

    I did think about that and came to the conclusion that yes they might be and her dad or grandad changed their main language to be more Finnish cos of the whole We are Finns era. But not their names for some reason πŸ˜‰

  2. Braine TS says:

    I would also be confused about that issue about her origins. I'm particular about details like that so I get where you're coming from. Maybe you should interview or tweet the writer to get the answers?

  3. Mary (Bookfan) says:

    Sounds good but sad. I bet very few readers would pick up on the Finnish/Scandanavian/Norse details but it would be interesting to see what the author would answer to what you noticed. Thanks for telling us about the book. I hadn't heard of it before.

  4. Melliane says:

    I don't think I've read a book set in Autralia despite the Keri Arthur ones but it's different. It sounds like an intense book, I didn't know this one.

  5. Herding Cats - Burning Soup says:

    Oh how interesting. I'll put this one on the wishlist for when I'm up for a bit of a sad story. And LOL at the nitpicking. I've had things pop up like that too where it's just a little hard to let it go. ::snort:: Thanks for the heads up on this one!

  6. Lauren Elizabeth says:

    I've only read a few books set in Australia, mostly YA, and I really want to read more. This sounds wonderful, I love hearing a book was read fast and hard to put down. πŸ™‚ Great review!

  7. Teddyree says:

    I read heaps more Australian fiction this year, and yet I missed this one. Thanks for great review B, definitely adding this one to my must read list!

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