One Moment One Morning

By Sarah Rayner
Picador, €9.91

FOR three passengers on the packed 7.44am Brighton-to-London commuter train, life will never be the same again.

One moment everything is normal; passengers casually observe one another; a girl puts on her make-up; a man strokes his wife’s hand; a woman reads a magazine. Next moment the scene descends into chaos – a man collapses, the train is stopped, an ambulance is called and, for three passengers on that particular morning, life will never be the same again.

Lou witnesses the man’s final moments and later shares a cab with another passenger called Anna, when they realise the delay will be prolonged, making them late for work. Anna is the best friend of another passenger, Karen. And Karen’s husband is the man who has died. Telling the story of the week following that fateful train journey, One Moment One Morning focuses on the lives of the three women – Lou, Anna and Karen – and the impact on all three of the sudden death of Anna’s beloved husband.

Centred around the lives of these three very different women, their preoccupations and their consequent self-evaluations over the course of the next week, this book focuses on issues that affect nearly all of us at some point – love, death, grief, sexuality, addiction and friendship. It’s far from the usual chick-lit novel – Rayner provides a stark reminder that sometimes one moment is all it takes to bring our carefully constructed lives crashing down around us. Yet the novel also underscores the fact that despite everything that has happened, life can and does go on. Rayner also takes a deeply life-affirming and very insightful look at the unassuming but deep and enduring friendships between women. A very lovely, gentle, moving story ostensibly about the excoriating power of grief, but one that is ultimately uplifting.


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