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Trains and Lovers: The Heart's Journey [Format Kindle]

Alexander McCall-Smith
5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

1

“I think that’s a fishing boat.”
 
It was. He saw it from the train, but not for more than a minute or two, as the line followed that bit of coastline only for a short time before it suddenly swerved off, as railway lines will do. The view of the North Sea was lost, and trees closed in; there was the blue of the sea one moment and then the blurred green of foliage rapidly passing the window; there was slanting morning sun, like an intermittent signal flashed through the trees.
 
This is the story of four people, all strangers to one another, who met on that train, and of how love touched their lives, in very different ways. Love is nothing out of the ordinary, even if we think it is; even if we idealise it, celebrate it in poetry, sentimentalise it in coy valentines. Love happens to just about everyone; it is like measles or the diseases of childhood; it is as predictable as the losing of milk teeth, or the breaking of a boy’s voice. It may visit us at any time, in our youth but also when we are much older and believe we are beyond its reach; but we are not. It has been described as a toothache, a madness, a divine intoxication—metaphors that reflect the disturbing effect it has on our lives. It may bring surprise, joy, despair and, occasionally, perfect happiness.
 
But for each person who is made happy by love, there will be many for whom it turns out to be a cause of regret. That is because it can be so fleeting; one moment it may take our breath away, the next it may leave us bereft. When it does that, love can be like a haunting, staying with us for year after year; we know that it is gone, but somehow we persuade ourselves that it is still there. The heart has more than its fair share of ghosts, and these ghosts may be love, in any of its many forms. I knew one who fell deeply in love at nineteen—smitten, overwhelmed; astonished to find that all he wanted to think about was the other; unbelieving, at first, that this had happened to him. Thirty years later, he found the person he had loved, to whom timidity, if not shame itself, had prevented him from declaring his feelings, regularly coming to him in his dreams. So much had happened in those intervening years, but none of it had been shared, as life had taken them in very different directions. Nobody would choose to be in love like that, to hold on so strongly to something that was no longer there. Yet we admire such instances of tenacity, finding nobility in loss and in the way in which some people bear it.
 
If it were not for the train journey on that day, these four would never have met. Journeys may be like that, may bring together people who would otherwise never have known of each other’s existence. In that respect, long journeys have something in common with military service or boarding school, or even the shared experience of some natural disaster. Such things bring us into contact with people we would never have encountered but for the sharing of danger or unhappiness.
 
Journeys are not only about places, they are also about people, and it may be the people, rather than the places, that we remember. Those with whom one shares a carriage on the Trans-Siberian Railway may well be remembered, even if the names of the places in which the train stops are soon lost. Of Kirov, Perm, Omsk and Ussuriysk, all of them stops on that long journey, most travellers, other than the locals, will probably remember only Omsk—for its sheer, prosaic finality, and for the fact that of all possible railway stations in the world, we are here in one called Omsk. I know nothing of Omsk, but it seems to me that its name is redolent of ending, a full stop; not a place for honeymoons or rhapsodies. Omsk.
 
Or Adelstrop. Yes, I remember Adelstrop, for the train stopped there in the heat—that is Edward Thomas. The poet was on a train journey into rural Oxfordshire, at a time when there was still an England of quiet villages and hedge-bound fields, and when a train might unexpectedly draw to a halt at a small place and there might be birdsong audible behind the hissing of steam. Nothing happens there, other than the stopping of a train and the escape of pent-up steam, but it brings home how suddenly and surprisingly we may be struck by the beauty of a particular place and moment.
 
Edward Thomas was not alone in sensing the poetic possibilities of the train. Auden’s “Night Mail” is entirely concerned with a rail journey: This is the Night Mail crossing the border / Bringing the cheque and the postal order. You can hear the train in those lines; you can feel its rocking motion.
 
And then there is the poet Kenneth Koch, who while travelling in Kenya came to a railroad crossing at which this sign was posted: One train may hide another. This was meant, of course, as a warning to drivers of the fact that the train you see may not be the only train to reckon with, but it also meant, as Koch points out in his poem, that there are many things in this life that conceal other things. One letter may mean another is on the way; one hitch-hiker may deliberately hide another one by the side of the road; offer to carry one bag and you may find there is another one hidden behind it, with the result that you must carry two. And so on through life. Do not count on things coming in ones.
 
Trains may hide one another, but they may also hide from us what they have in store—the meetings, the disclosures, the exchanged glances, the decisions we make or the insights that strike us on a journey. Trains are everyday, prosaic things, but they can be involved in, be the agents of, so much else, including that part of our human life that for so many far outweighs any other—our need for love—to give it and to receive it in that familiar battle that all of us fight with loneliness.

Revue de presse

“Their stories envelop us, each in its own way—we can smell the dust of the Outback and hear the gentle lap of waves against a rowboat—and they resist reducing emotion to platitudes. Love doesn’t always end happily, but even then it can end well, with hope, dignity and humanity, and that’s just what Trains and Lovers celebrates.” —The Wichita Eagle
 
“A lovely, quiet vacation that requires no packing, missed connections or meeting actual strangers on trains.” —Weekly Alibi (Albuquerque, NM)

“As each interwoven story gracefully unfolds, trains themselves play a part in the individual narrative arcs where the fleeting nature of love emerges as a unifying theme.” —Shelf Awareness
 
“Wise and witty reflections on love and luck.” —Booklist
 
“A warm, understated serving of comfort food.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The best thing McCall Smith has written so far . . . He is a virtuoso storyteller whose tales from the human heart remain very definitely on track.” —The Scotsman
 
“McCall Smith’s deceivingly simple prose style can be both disarming and deeply affecting . . . That four strangers should meet and tell such compelling stories is highly unlikely, but such is McCall Smith’s ability to draw us into his kindly world, disbelief is more than willingly suspended.” —Sydney Morning Herald
 
Praise for Alexander McCall Smith
 
“[McCall Smith’s writing is] beautifully precise and psychologically acute.” —The Independent (London)
 
“McCall Smith’s generous writing and dry humor, his gentleness and humanity, and his ability to evoke a place and a set of characters without caricature or condescension have endeared his books to readers.” —The New York Times
 
“McCall Smith creates unforgettable characters and stories that resonate with readers across generations.” —Booklist


Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 549 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 258 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 034580581X
  • Editeur : Polygon (1 novembre 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B009WO0NGQ
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°61.653 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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En savoir plus sur l'auteur

Ressortissant britannique né en 1948 au Zimbabwe, où il a grandi, Alexander McCall Smith vit aujourd'hui à Édimbourg et exerce les fonctions de professeur de droit appliqué à la médecine. Il est internationalement connu pour avoir créé le personnage de la première femme détective du Botswana, Mma Precious Ramotswe, héroïne d'une série qui compte déjà onze volumes. Quand il n'écrit pas, Alexander McCall Smith s'adonne à la musique - il fait partie de « l'Orchestre épouvantable » - et aux voyages. Il est également l'auteur des aventures d'Isabel Dalhousie, présidente du Club des philosophes amateurs et de 44 Scotland Street, qui inaugure les « Chroniques d' Édimbourg », un roman-feuilleton relatant les tribulations d'un immeuble peuplé de personnages hauts en couleur.

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Commentaires client les plus utiles
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Vive le train 15 janvier 2013
Par book1961
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
Chaque nouveau livre d'Alexander Mc Call Smith m'enchante ! C'est un livre intelligent, pour le plaisir qu'il apporte, pour les sourires qu'il provoque, pour la finesse de l'analyse de l'humain, de ses amours, de ses amitiés... Pour l'évocation de la générosité, de l'attention, de l'écoute, du partage...
Alexander, I'm waiting for the next !
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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  220 commentaires
47 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 An enjoyable whimsical read 22 novembre 2012
Par Michael - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Alexander McCall-Smith takes four strangers on a train journey with each talking about their past and present relationships. An enchanting book with typical McCall-Smith reflections on life today. It's an easy read, yet as always thought provoking. It's the way McCall-Smith puts into words those instants of life which are often thought, but not easily verbalized, which provide delight and sparks of insight into life as it is today. An enjoyable read.
25 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Give Yourself a Treat! 4 mai 2013
Par Mary Lins - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
I'm not quite sure how to describe Alexander McCall Smith's new book, "Trains and Lovers". It's a stand-alone - not part of one of his wonderful series such as The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Series or The 44 Scotland Street Series. But is it a novella or four short stories about love? I'm not certain what to call it other than several hours of being in the sweet world of Alexander McCall Smith. If you like literature that is uplifting, then you are probably already a fan of his.

In this novel about the intricacies and accidents of finding true love, we meet four strangers on a train bound for London; Kay, David, Andrew and Hugh. Ok, maybe it's not realistic that these four strangers would reveal such personal stories to each other (and one doesn't, his story is revealed only to himself through his own memories) but when you are reading an Alexander McCall Smith story, such realities don't seem to matter. What does matter, always, are the characters and their stories. The book jacket blurb calls Smith "enchanting" and if there was a better word for what he does then I'd use it. To step into his world is to be enchanted for a time.

Some will doubtless complain about the brevity of this book; I finished it in an afternoon. But for me it was the perfect length and topic after just having finished Charles Dubow's wonderfully meaty novel, "Indiscretion", which is about love betrayed. I didn't plan it this way, but "Trains and Lovers" was the perfect antidote for that intense story. I love how some books are "just right" for the time you need them, and Alexander McCall Smith is my go-to when I want my faith in humanity restored. (Now I'm on to a book about Soviet Russia! Perhaps I'll need to come back `round to this one again!)
25 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 So different 4 janvier 2013
Par Jan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
this is so different from the other books that I have read by this author, although on reflection perhaps the Isabel Dalhousie books are also an inside to people and how they think.
I loved this and would recommend it to others who enjoy this authors works.
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Thoughtful, moving, quotable 16 mai 2013
Par Carol Kean - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Commentaire client Vine pour produit gratuit (De quoi s'agit-il?)
While the idea of four strangers on a train spilling stories of their love lives may sound preposterous, this novel makes us forget the artifice of the novel's structure and varying points of view. McCall Smith's masterful prose style, his insights, word economy, poetic gift of choosing the right word and image, brought to life stories that are universal and timeless. I pencil a check mark in the margins to note lines I particularly like, and this novel has them on almost every page. Phrase after phrase of inner monologue or dialogue rang true. Never mind the "artifice" of strangers on a train narrating such personal tales, and with such finesse. What they're saying is so authentic. Especially the most unlikely story of all, a middle aged woman speaking for her father, a WWII soldier who moved from Scotland to Australia after the war. How can she narrate so much personal information from his point of view? Well, start with the reader's willing suspension of disbelief, add the truth and beauty of McCall Smith's insights, and the story keeps us turning pages.

One character, David, never does speak out loud of his first love. For fear of a plot spoiler, I won't say why, but it's a very tender and poignant first love, never consummated, and never forgotten.

I like this book so much, I would buy copies for friends. That's a rare endorsement for me.
47 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 A fan a bit disappointed 4 décembre 2012
Par KathyB - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I adore this author, my favourites being Scotland Street and Mma Ramotswe. I am the first to buy the next book in each of these series and devour them. But I never really got into the Isabel Dalhousie series or Corduroy Mansions as I felt McCall Smith was trying to extend too far and so these became a bit wishy washy and were not so enjoyable. Trains and Lovers is similar to Corduroy Mansions, but they are on a train instead. Each of the 4 main characters who are strangers sharing a booth on a train, shares their story with one another as they journey across the land. Whilst there are the lovely McCall Smith life reflections and indeed life lessons he is reknown for (especially in Mma Ramotswe) books, I found myself skim reading and thinking ' all a bit same old'. I finished it, with respect for the author, but unfortunately only 3 stars - its ok.
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