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  New York Times Review

ORSON WELLES'S LAST MOVIE: The Making of "The Other Side of the Wind," by Josh Karp. (St. Martin's Griffin, $16.99.) After years of self-imposed exile, Welles returned to the United States hoping to complete his grandest film yet: a tale of an aging movie director who kills himself on the anniversary of Ernest Hemingway's suicide. (Welles maintained it was not autobiographical.) The unfinished film remains largely unseen, and Karp delves into the various factors that blocked the project's completion, including the Iranian revolution and Liechtenstein-based companies. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, by Paula Hawkins. (Riverhead, $16.) Rachel, the divorced, unemployed, alcoholic and unstable heroine of this novel, has developed a fixation on a couple whose house she passes every day during her train ride into town. But when the woman goes missing, Rachel involves herself in the investigation, and turns out to have surprising connections to the crime. GOD AND JETFIRE: Confessions of a Birth Mother, by Amy Seek. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $15.) After an unplanned pregnancy, Seek chose to give her baby up for adoption. As part of her arrangement, Seek and the adoptive parents maintained a relationship throughout the child's life. The author reflects in this memoir on the excruciating grief of parting with a child and surrendering her role as a mother. THE ILLUMINATIONS, by Andrew O'Hagan. (Picador, $17.) The stories of Anne, an aging and once-renowned photographer, and her grandson, Luke, who traveled on an Afghan humanitarian mission, make up this novel. After Luke returns home to the United Kingdom, struggling to recover from his time overseas, spending time with his grandmother and uncovering a cache of her memories gives him comfort. "The Illuminations" is "both a howl against the war in Afghanistan and the societies that have blindly abetted it," Dani Shapiro said here. THE MAKING OF ASIAN AMERICA: A History, by Erika Lee. (Simon & Schuster, $18.) An impressive survey of life in the United States for Asians who sought to make their homes here. Lee's account spans some of the most ignominious episodes in the country's past, including legislation that barred Asian immigrants from entry, and shows how Asian-Americans, now the fastest-growing group in the United States, have shaped America. EILEEN, by Ottessa Moshfegh. (Penguin, $16.) In 1960s New England, Eileen plots an escape from a world largely dictated by men around her. Moshfegh skillfully explores "a woman's relationship to her body: the disconnection, the cultural claims, the male prerogative," our reviewer, Lily King, said. A HIGHER FORM OF KILLING: Six Weeks in World War I That Forever Changed the Nature of Warfare, by Diana Preston. (Bloomsbury, $18.) Preston traces the rise of a new class of weapons to this period in 1915, when the Germans launched a merciless assault on the Allies, gassing the Canadians and French, sinking the Lusitania, and bombing London.

  Library Journal Review

Hawkins's highly engrossing debut novel introduces listeners to Rachel Watson, an unreliable point-of-view character if there ever was one-she is unemployed, an alcoholic, and stalking her ex-husband and his new wife. She attempts to save face by pretending to go to work every day, seeing the same seemingly perfect couple daily from her train window. Rachel's narrative is intersected by those of two other women--Megan, the woman who lives in the house Rachel is obsessed with, and Anna, who lives down the street from Megan and is married to Rachel's ex-husband. When Megan disappears, layers of the women's personalities are slowly revealed in unexpected ways. Narrators Clare Corbett, Louise Brealey, and India Fisher give outstanding performances. VERDICT A gripping novel that will appeal to fans of psychological fiction and suspense. ["With only a brief look into backstory, undeveloped characters offer no reason or motivation for their actions, and none of them is likable," disagreed the review of the Riverhead hc, LJ 10/15/14.]-Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North -Alabama, Florence © Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Melding the voyeurism of Rear Window with the unreliable narration of Gone Girl (2012), Hawkins delivers a riveting thriller. Rachel commutes to London each day, pretending to go to a job she got sacked from months ago for being drunk. Her ex-husband left her for Megan, and now they have a baby and are living in the home Rachel so lovingly decorated. Almost every day, from the train window, she sees Anna and Scott, who live two doors down from her old home. Rachel vividly imagines Anna and Scott's perfect life (she calls them the golden couple), giving them elaborate backstories; however, one day she sees Anna kissing a man who is not her husband; the very next day, Anna goes missing. Rachel inserts herself into the investigation with a headlong desperation, keen to find a way to give her life meaning, and what she discovers is surprising on every level. The novel is alternately narrated by three equally unlikable women, and Hawkins very deliberately doles out tantalizing information, but what really gives this novel its compulsive readability is the way she so expertly mines female archetypes: the jealous ex-wife, the smug mistress, the emotionally damaged femme fatale. Hawkins makes voyeurs of her readers as she creates one humiliating scene after another with the women's near-feral emotions on full display. A wicked thriller, cleverly done. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This may well be the next Gone Girl, with foreign rights sold in 20 countries and film rights optioned to DreamWorks.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2014 Booklist

  Kirkus Review

Desperate to find lives more fulfilling than her own, a lonely London commuter imagines the story of a couple she's only glimpsed through the train window in Hawkins' chilling, assured debut, in which the line between truth and lie constantly shifts like the rocking of a train.Rachel Watsona divorced, miserable alcoholic who's still desperately in love with her ex-husband, Tomrides the same train every day into London for her dead-end job, one she unsurprisingly loses after one too many drunken outbursts. Continuing her daily commute to keep up appearances with her roommate, Rachel always pays special attention to a couple, whom she dubs "Jess and Jason," who live a seemingly idyllic life in a house near her own former home. When she sees a momentary act of infidelity, followed soon after by news that Jesswhose real name is Megan Hipwellhas disappeared, Rachel is compelled to share her secret knowledge, becoming enmeshed in the police investigation, which centers on Megan's husband, Scott. Further complicating matters is the fact that the night Megan vanished, Rachel has a hazy memory of drunkenly stumbling past the Hipwell home and seeing something she can't quite recall. Hawkins seamlessly moves among Rachel's present-day story as the investigation into Megan's disappearance widens, Megan's own life leading up to her disappearance, and snippets about Anna, the woman for whom Tom left Rachel. Even the most astute readers will be in for a shock as Hawkins slowly unspools the facts, exposing the harsh realities of love and obsession's inescapable links to violence. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Rachel catches the same commuter train every morning. She knows it will wait at the same signal each time, overlooking a row of back gardens. She's even started to feel like she knows the people who live in one of the houses. 'Jess and Jason', she calls them. Their life - as she sees it - is perfect. If only Rachel could be that happy.
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