She entered the station, wearing a white leopard-print dress that was short enough to show off her legs. Her hair slid down the back of her neck in a curtain of gold, which shimmered as it passed through the updraught. There was a conspicuous ring on her finger. Her head turned and her eyes almost met with mine. I looked away.
After a disastrous holiday with his girlfriend in Madrid, Lawrence Williams takes the train back to Paris where he is studying art history. Lawrence is twenty years old and discovering how to see the world, which means he doesn't mind too much when he gets stranded at the border.
That's when Élodie Lavelle enters his field of vision. She might be twice his age but she's amused by the boy's earnest charm. She decides to entertain herself by educating him in the rules of her society, treating him to an unforgettable evening in Biarritz.
But Élodie has not counted on what Lawrence might teach her in return, or how much their unlikely encounter will mark them both. The Train to Paris is a surprising and compelling love story.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
A classic older woman seduction story told by a twenty year old man stranded at a station on his way back to Paris from a disastrous holiday with his girlfriend. When Elodie Lavelle strolls into the station, she turns his life inside out with her extravagant indulgence, her overt sensuality and her air of mystery. He is captivated.
I can't say I warmed to this: neither the narrator nor his object of desire appeared all that plausible to me so that I felt I was in the grip of just another young man's fantasy that was all about stylish surfaces and illicit sex. Looking at the dust jacket photo of the author I see he is very young, like his narrator, which may explain the gaucheness and forced dialogue.
About the Author
Sebastian Hampson was born in 1992 in Auckland, New Zealand. He grew up in Wellington, has lived in Europe, and is currently studying art history and literature at Victoria University. The Train to Paris is his first novel.
'Sebastian Hampson is that rare thing: a writer of ideas who is also compulsively readable.' -- Nicholas Edlin, author of The Widow's Daughter 'Sebastian Hampson...writes with an assurance that belies his years. A perceptive and thoughtful love story in the tradition of Brief Encounter, inspired by Hampson's travels in Europe, the novel is immediately engrossing. The reader is swept along by the fluidity of the writing.' Weekend Australian 'Hampson's prose superbly renders the atmosphere of summer in Biarritz and winter in Paris. His self-absorbed Lawrence is very believable, and some of the ancillary characters are also well-portrayed. This is a remarkable debut novel, and it will be interesting to see what Hampson comes up with next.' BookMooch 'This book will charm and engage.' Books & Publishing 'Lyrical and elegant.' Waikato Times 'Hilarious at times, sad too, and sometimes slightly shocking, the story grips from the beginning...The dialogue is sharp, and the changes in himself the young man experiences are both touching and realistic...This is a remarkable and sophisticated piece of writing for a young man in his early 20s. Sebastian Hampson is a writer to keep an eye open for.' Otago DailyTimes
Number Of Pages: 304
Published: 26th February 2014
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3 x 2.4
Weight (kg): 0.48