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Railway Station Man by JENNIFER JOHNSTON
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Railway Station Man (original 1985; edition 1989)

by JENNIFER JOHNSTON

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645186,178 (3.45)9
Member:mahallett
Title:Railway Station Man
Authors:JENNIFER JOHNSTON
Info:PENGUIN BOOKS LTD (1989), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction

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The Railway Station Man by Jennifer Johnston (1985)

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Jennifer Johnston is an Irish author, whose work is characterized by her inimical and fine style, with a great attention to detail. Particularly, her eye for the natural world makes her books a pleasure to read.

A feature of non-mainstream authors is possibly that their style of writing is more difficult, and that it takes more effort on the part of the reader to get into the world and the characters they portray in their books. While some of the work of Jennifer Johnston could be said to be experimental in narrative structure, The railway station man is a fairly conventional novel.

Like The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald, The railway station man is set in a remote village in the countryside, some time in the 1976. The novel begins with a chapter describing Helen Cuffe's youth. The chapter ends with the tragic death of her husband, making Helen a young widow with a child, their son Jack. As her marriage had been happy, Helen resigns to the death of her husband, which leaves her in a state of permanent depression. Part of the bleak effect of the novel is that the story is seen through Helen's eyes. When Roger Hawthorne settles into the village, he is at first viewed with suspicion. Because of his hobby, putting derelict railway stations into order, he is nicknamed the railway man. Roger woes Helen, who gradually thaws to his warmth and love. While Roger, Helen and many villagers are locked into traditional life in the village, the younger generation is keen to get away from that Manus, who regularly goes to Dublin, Jack and Damian, hang in the pub and pull pranks. Until one day the two worlds violently collide.

The railway station man is a beautifully written novel, but somewhat difficult to get into. The inaccessibility into the minds of the character is thus reflected in the novel. Both Helen and Roger hold onto the life of old, for each of them 1944 was the year when their ordinary happy lives took a dark turn. The story unfolds against the background of the natural scene, the seasons and weather that creates a sense of permanence. Roger's hobby suggests passion, but his passion is focused on obsolete and useless objects, an attempt to recreate the past in the present. The derelict rail road also symbolizes the insulation of their existence in the countryside, and in time. ( )
  edwinbcn | Dec 16, 2013 |
not one likeable character except maybe damien. helen reminded me of barbara fisher who used to teach esl. unpleasant but attractive to look at and you're kind of drawn to her. i found the book quite good but i don't know if i can recommend it? ( )
  mahallett | Jan 9, 2013 |
Very enjoyable, though sad. Poetically Irish and very well written. ( )
  Mouldywarp | Oct 11, 2010 |
2662 The Railway Station Man, by Jennifer Johnston (read 10 Oct 1994) This is the 5th novel of Johnston's I've read. I disapproved of the morals of the characters, and decided I had read enough of Johnston. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Mar 31, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0747259364, Paperback)

Helen has retreated to the remote Irish coast to be alone and to paint. In the railway station house nearby, English war hero Roger Hawthorne has settled. They find a deepening love for each other, but Helen, enjoying her first taste of happiness for years, is to learn how fleeting it can be.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:36 -0400)

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