“The 6:41 to Paris”

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The 6:41 to Paris     “The 6:41 to Paris” begins in the Paris suburbs with a late-40’s married woman, Cecile, returning to the city by train after visiting her parents.  On the train (it’s 6:41 am, not pm) she recognizes Phillipe, a man she had a brief affair with when they was in their early 20’s.  The author indicates in the first 3/4 of the novel that he treated her so poorly and maligned her in some way so badly that they never spoke again. The suspense of wondering what occurred between them pulls the reader along because you wonder what Phillipe did that was so terrible to hurt Cecile so severely. After Phillipe sits in the seat beside Cecile and they recognize each other, each is caught up in their memories of the time they had together. Cecile reviews the painful events. Phillipe reflects with guilt on the bad way he treated her.  Neither one acknowledges recognizing the other for awhile and then you wonder if they ever will.  The novel has a strong beginning, but the plot drags out a bit too much until you don’t really care so much what happens.  The ending also lacks satisfaction and falls a bit flat.  At only 170 pages, “6:41 to Paris” is entertaining, but mildly disappointing, too.

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