Review: The Train of Small Mercies by David Rowell
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Release Date: October 13th, 2011
Source: ARC provided by publisher
In the summer of 1968 Senator and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in a Los Angeles hotel. After laying in repose in New York City, Kennedy's body was transported via rail to Washington, D.C. for burial. Thousands of people stood along the tracks hoping to catch a glimpse of the train and pay their respects as it passed. For many, Kennedy symbolized hope for those who felt misunderstood and mistreated or for those who were looking for something better.
While I can't say I loved this collection, I did enjoy reading something different than the usual novel. The Train of Small Mercies uses each individual story along with many cultural and sentimental details to express the grief of a nation. My favorite story was the one about Vietnam veteran Jamie West who is trying to come to terms with his loss and find himself again. If the other stories had been as compelling as that one then the collection would have been more moving. However, there is a lot of promise in Rowell's debut, and I will probably pick up his next work to see if the story better matches the wonderful writing.