Sunday 13 April 2014

The Railwayman's Wife by Ashley Hay

This is my kind of fiction.

The Railwayman's Wife is heart-achingly sweet.

Hay has created an emotional world that is absorbing and very tangible. She see-saws between loss & grief and love & hope. Her writing is tender & lyrical and full of the wonder & healing power of nature.

I devoured this book in two days. I could barely put it down.

Anikka Lachlan's world of post WW2 Thirroul became one of my parallel universes of existence. The first night, I hugged Mr Books close as Anikka's grief engulfed me.

Whilst driving to soccer yesterday, I was really walking along Thirroul beach with Ani and Isabel.

At half time, I read another chapter. With the first sentence I was back inside Hay's emotional bubble. The hard, cold stadium seating, the cool, autumnal wind and the smell of teen spirit disappeared completely.

At a dinner party last night, I kept feeling Ani's presence beside me. And I woke this morning aching to be with Ani, with fingers crossed for happy endings.

I love books that take me on an emotional journey. A journey that feels authentic - without histrionics, extravagance or manipulation. A gentle journey of the interior of a gentle, sensitive woman.

The Railwayman's Wife is a beautifully nuanced & bittersweet journey that has left me wanting more story by Hay. For me, it doesn't get any better than this.

Image of Hay at Thirroul courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Railwayman's Wife has been longlisted for this years Miles Franklin and shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Literary Awards.

Breaking News: The Railwayman's Wife has won the People's Choice Award at this years NSW Premier's Literary Awards night. 
I'm delighted!


  1. This sounds like my kind of fiction too. I am glad you liked it! That cover is also beautiful.

  2. I've seen the book around, but didn't know much about it. It's always wonderful to be swept up into a fictional world isn't it? I must admit to being confused about this book, and the nearly identical titled The Railway Man movie (which I haven't seen) with Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth. If there's ever a space in my reading dance card I should check this out.

    1. Yes, I was confused too Louise, until the longlists started coming out and I checked out which was which. I'm so glad I did :-)

  3. I love when books take over my life that way! Reading was almost always like that when I was a child, but it only occasionally happens now.

    Joy's Book Blog

    1. I think that's why this one felt so special Joy. It's a long time since a story took me away so completely.

  4. How wonderful that this story made you feel that way!

  5. Anonymous15/4/14

    Really enjoyed reading your review. This one struck me in a similar way. I love it when books do that. Elemental by Amanda Curtin also affected me that way.

    1. Thanks for the heads up about Elemental. I haven't heard of it before, but will check it out if it has a similar emotional pull as TRW.


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