Lauren Leto

Writers on Trains

Posted in book porn by Lauren Leto on February 9, 2010

I took the train to and from New York City this weekend. About halfway through my way there, I looked outside and thought about how Richard Russo would describe the moment, “the train steered itself along the tracks and I quietly sat and stared at the rambling river, wondering what would happen once I made it to my destination”.

Then I started naming other authors in my head and trying to think about how they’d describe a train trip. Feel free to add yours in the comments.

(Character names used are not supposed to be those characters, some names are from their books and some aren’t. Any commonalities are coincidental).

Jack Kerouac on a train

“We got raging drunk and went to the dining car. The girl we sat next to was pretty, quiet, too innocent to be on a train. Sal entertained her with fake stories of his bravery in the Army while I made excuses up for smoking her cigarettes.”

Fyodor Dostoevsky on a train

“He didn’t trust his traveling companion, nor himself. The train creaked along slowly, every second bringing another request from Alexei. Alexei kept trying to convince him to gamble with the boys, he remembered his promise to Stesha and tried to avoid Alexei’s calls until it got to a point where it would have been rude to keep denying his companion.”

Haruki Murakami on a train

“The old man tried to move from his seat, but couldn’t. The icicle was hanging above him and he was convinced it would fall and kill him if he got up. The old man ended up riding the train all the way until the last stop, when the conductor yanked him from under the icicle.”

J.D. Salinger on a train

“I had to sit next to someone in the dining cart, she smiled too much like she thought I were some boy who needed to see her smiles.”

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4 Responses

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  1. Dave said, on February 10, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Kurt Vonnegut

    “The passenger car glided across the tracks with the whoosh and gentle HUMMMN of a magnetically propelled boa constrictor. If bullet trains could think, this one, like all bullet trains, would be thinking, ‘HECK YEAH, I’M A BULLET TRAIN! YOU SEE THAT? YOU SEE THAT TREE? YEAH, THAT WAS A TREE, MAN! IT WAS JUST A BLURR! WHOOSH!’

    “If the tracks could think, they would be wondering why no one ever cared enough to stop for a spell and chat with them anymore.”

  2. […] On A Train Posted in book porn by Lauren Leto on February 11, 2010 Dave (in the comments of this post) from Sound A Doggy […]

  3. Guest said, on February 13, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    Have you read all of Russo’s books? I only read Empire Falls.

  4. Lynn, Tony and Matthew said, on February 17, 2010 at 2:18 am

    You are brilliant. Maybe this structure should be your new book.


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