“Ingenious, great fun, and wholly original” – Fay Weldon CBE, on The Seventh Train
Moving from stage to page, The Seventh Train has taken the scenic route from Jackie Carreira’s award-winning play to a second novel that promises to be as well-received as the first (Sleeping Through War, 9781788038539)
The Seventh Train is a ride – a ‘road movie’ on the railways. It’s a journey that Elizabeth invented; the only original thought she has ever had in her previously uneventful life. Unbeknown to her, she is not travelling alone. If only she’d pretended that the spare seat was taken.
Although, by turns, hilarious and life-affirming, part of the story tackles serious issues of suicide and mental health, specifically the alarmingly high incidents on public transport. As Jackie says: “This is something that’s been in the news a lot recently, especially as suicide rates on the UK rail system increased by 9.1% last year. It’s a hugely important issue. Having said that, it’s not a gloomy novel at all, but actually full of hope and a good dose of wit!”
It’s a project that has been part of Jackie’s life for years. Originally conceived as a stage play, it was her theatrical debut and went on to become one of the winners of The Kenneth Branagh 10th Anniversary Award for New Drama at the Windsor Fringe Festival. From there, it just kept chugging along until it became the novel Jackie is releasing now.
With a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters, The Seventh Train takes its passengers on a journey from the tragic to the strange, arriving finally at hope. By turns heart-breaking, thought-provoking and hilarious, this tale is a life- affirming exploration of the human spirit via the British railway timetable!
RELEASE DATE: 28 June 2019
ISBN: 9781789018936 Price: £8.99
So when you read the words above, you’re intrigued but you’re still not totally sure what you’re getting into! I’m a big lover of theatre and not just musically inclined ones but I live and breathe plays when I get to them, they transport you and just utterly captivate you if they do their job right, so hearing this was a play first really got me to say ‘yes please!’
As for what this book is about, it’s about whatever you make it to be, it reminds me in its essence of Waiting for Godot where you could spend your time dissecting it or you could simply enjoy it.
Our main character who starts the journey with us is Elizabeth and she’s a woman who wants to be on her own, she’s realized her unhappiness in life and decides that something has to change. Her solution? Well, you’ll have to read and find out but just know it heavily involves numerous seventh trains.
Elizabeth is joined by a wonderful cast of characters, three others who are going through their own journeys, and all connected by a/the seventh train. It’s a great look into the human psyche and going in a little blind, I can only say that this book was the ultimate pleasant surprise in that it was such a journey to take on its own and the story so relatable that I was left with such a satisfying feeling as I finished it.
Not to mention the ending was brilliant, a hail to the start and I loved it.
If you’re looking to go on a train ride that will leave you looking at what it means to be human and what it means to feel lost and then found, I suggest reading this. Carreira’s writing is fluid and the transition from play to book seems effortless on her part, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone who is intrigued and/or loves the theatre. It was a joy to read this and I want to thank Anne Cater and Jackie Carreira for my copy and the chance to be in this blog tour!
Content Warning: Suicide mentioned, discussed, and described. It is not the point of the book but it does play heavy in the journey for some. It is not ideation, however.
About the Author
Jackie Carreira is a writer, designer, musician and co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre Company. British-born of Portuguese parents, she grew up in East London and lived for a while in Lisbon as a child. After travelling the world playing music for 12 years, she hung up her bass guitar and picked up a pen. She’s been writing ever since and twice been a winner of the Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama. Some of her plays are available online via lazybeescripts.co.uk. If Jackie could have another life, she would be a full-time philosopher and get paid to ask questions all day.
The Rest of the Tour