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The 6:41 to Paris

Jean-Philippe Blondel | New Vessel Press | translated by Alison Anderson

Cecile, a stylish 47-year-old, has spent the weekend visiting her parents in a provincial town southeast of Paris. By early Monday morning, she’s exhausted. These trips back home are always stressful and she settles into a train compartment with an empty seat beside her. But it’s soon occupied by a man she instantly recognizes: Philippe Leduc, with whom she had a passionate affair that ended in her brutal humiliation 30 years ago. In the fraught hour and a half that ensues, their express train hurtles towards the French capital. Cécile and Philippe undertake their own face to face journey—In silence? What could they possibly say to one another?—with the reader gaining entrée to the most private of thoughts. This is a psychological thriller about past romance, with all its pain and promise.


“Perfectly written and a remarkably suspenseful read … an absorbing, intriguing, insightful book for all readers.”

Library Journal (Starred review)

“A fast, yet deep journey through the characters’ experiences of anger, triumph, remorse, and forgiveness, Blondel’s novel … reminds us that even long-ago heartbreaks have the power to ignite our most powerful emotions.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A taut, suspenseful psychological journey from which there is no escape. The 6:41 to Paris shatters any illusions that acts of cruelty committed in our youth are of little consequence later in life. A gripping yarn for our time.”

—Kati Marton, author of Paris: A Love Story