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The Railwayman's Wife: A Novel by…

The Railwayman's Wife: A Novel (2013)

by Ashley Hay

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The Railwayman's Wife is a languorous novel not of action but of words. A slow burner propelled by emotion, grief, and tragedy. In post-WWII Australia, Ani Lachlan is content in her life as a mother and railwayman's wife. However, the unexpected death of her husband in an accident on the rails forces Ani to face life as a single mother and widow. Accepting a position as the librarian in her small seaside town, Ani begins to navigate her life's new trajectory as she learns to cope and develops a complex friendship with a returned soldier struggling to overcome his own griefs. A languid, lyrical treat exploring the romance of a lost love and the chance at finding it again. ( )
  GennaC | May 9, 2017 |
Thanks to our new ‘An Audience With’ program, Wollongong City Libraries book clubs are becoming very experienced in conversing with authors. Couple that with a friendly, open and chatty guest in the form of Ashley Hay, what you have is a wonderfully informative and extremely enjoyable evening!

Most of our clubs have either read or are reading Ashley’s The Railwayman’s Wife, which incidentally is getting the thumbs up all around, so last Tuesday was a great opportunity to learn more about the novel from its creator.

Our questions spanned everything from Hay’s choice of setting (Thirroul, where she grew up), the origins of her characters, and the process of researching a post-war novel to writing poetry and discovering an author’s voice.

Sharing many personal antidotes and imparting what the novel means to her, definitely worked magic on our audience and we all felt just that little bit closer to Anikka, Mac, Frank and Roy. With gentle coaxing Ashley read aloud Roy’s poem and explained the story behind its writing by poet Stephen Edgar. This was such a special treat … Edgar’s poem, which he wrote especially for this novel, came alive under her gentle, quiet voice. The same voice that resounds so clearly in The Railwayman’s Wife.

We look forward to Ashley’s next novel and highly recommend her work and attending any of her talks and presentations. In connecting with her ‘audience’ we give 10 stars!
  jody12 | Jan 29, 2017 |
Have to start off by saying I wouldn't have picked this up on my own. It is for my two book discussions I lead at my library next month.

It is set in Australia shortly after WWII. We focus on three characters who all are dealing with grief. Ani's husband Mac didn't go to war but then dies shortly after in a train crash. Roy is a former teacher who has some poems published during the war which brings him some notoriety but he has lost his way and can't write anything new since the war. Frank is a doctor who went in to a concentration camp once the war ended and tried to help the survivors and failed. All three of them are trying to deal with the aftermath and start anew.

Beautiful written which made me feel their pain and suffering. But then that ending. I did not like it. You can see it coming but it was not what I was hoping for. I do understand why she did it though. ( )
  JJbooklvr | Dec 21, 2016 |
Sometimes a simple, beautifully written novel is all you need to make you happy. The small coastal town in Australia and its railway line are as much characters as the poet, the doctor and the widow who comprise the characters that steer the story.
Gently following the path taken to overcome tragedy and go on living life, it's literature at its finest.

( )
  Iambookish | Dec 14, 2016 |
My last couple of books have been all girly and feely- placing me out of my element, but I survived. This novel, The Railwayman's Wife, by Ashley Hay is one of those feely books. It's takes you to a time when war and the railroad were all people spoke of. Enter 1948 in South Wales, Australia, where marriages were made to last a lifetime and death can be sudden and swift...
Okay, I don't want to do this book an injustice, so I have to type slowly, ensuring I actually think for myself instead of my fingers doing it all for me. The RailwayMan's Wife, by Ashley Hay is a poetic novel. Not because it's on poetry, but the careful way it was written. The story is soft, flowy (Yes, I said flowy) and romantic. It's a girly book, full of love that makes your knees weak and your heart sigh, But it doesn't last long.

This story is tragic and full of pain. Three individuals deal with loss in one form or another and their getting though these trying times all seem to be around the Railway Institute's library. I won't go into detail, for fear of giving SPOILERS, but I can say Hay has the gift. Her writing is beautiful. She allows you to experience all that takes place in the life of Anikka Lachlan, Roy McKinnon's and Frank Draper's lives... a little too much...

For the full review: http://bit.ly/TheRailwaymansWifeNovel
**Book published by Atria Books. ( )
  AReneeHunt | Nov 3, 2016 |
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It's not what we forget
but what was never known we most regret
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She sits, her legs folded beneath her.
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Book description
In Thirroul in 1948, people chase their dreams through the books in the railwayman's library. Annikka Lachlan searches for solace after her life is destroyed by a single random act. Roy McKinnon, who found poetry in the mess of the 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 ending, 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.
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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. In Thirroul, 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.… (more)

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