The Train of Small Mercies by David Rowell

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Synopsis

In this stunning debut, David Rowell depicts disparate lives united in the extraordinary days that followed an American tragedy.

On June 8, 1968, as the train carrying Robert F. Kennedy’s body travels from New York City to Washington D.C., the nation mourns the loss of a dream. As citizens congregate along the tracks to pay their respects, Michael Colvert, a New Jersey sixth grader, sets out to see his first dead body. Delores King creates a tangle of lies to sneak away from her controlling husband. Just arrived in the nation’s capitol to interview for a nanny position with the Kennedy family, Maeve McDerdon must reconcile herself to an unknown future. Edwin Rupp’s inaugural pool party takes a backseat to the somber proceedings. Jamie West, a Vietnam vet barely out of high school, awaits a newspaper interview meant to restore his damaged self-esteem. And Lionel Chase arrives at Penn Station for his first day of work—a staggering assignment as a porter aboard RFK’s funeral train.

 

About David Rowell

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DAVID ROWELL is an editor at The Washington Post Magazine and has taught literary journalism at American University. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. This is his first novel.
 
Published October 13, 2011 by Berkley. 314 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Train of Small Mercies

Kirkus Reviews

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As the train carries Kennedy’s body from New York to D.C., Rowell cuts in and out among a cross section of Americans who live along the route, or in one case are visiting the area.

Sep 01 2011 | Read Full Review of The Train of Small Mercies

Publishers Weekly

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Set in June 1968, Rowell’s first novel revolves around the solemn train journey that brought the body of slain Sen. Robert Kennedy from Penn Station to Washington, D.C., for burial.

Aug 29 2011 | Read Full Review of The Train of Small Mercies

Washington Independent Review of Books

In his first novel, The Washington Post Magazine editor tells several small stories against the backdrop of one overwhelming national event.

| Read Full Review of The Train of Small Mercies

BookPage

After Bobby Kennedy was assassinated, his coffin was placed on a train and transported from New York, where his funeral was held, to Washington, D.C., where he was to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Oct 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Train of Small Mercies

Bookmarks Magazine

And in Washington, an Irish nanny in town to interview with the Kennedy family must reconcile the lost opportunity and the chance to start her life anew.In this stunning debut, David Rowell depicts disparate lives united by an extraordinary commemoration, irrevocably changed as Kennedy'...

Oct 17 2011 | Read Full Review of The Train of Small Mercies

North Jersey

A series of stories unfolding on a single, memorable day in American life, "The Train of Small Mercies" is a compelling first novel that builds emotional momentum as the hours pass.

Oct 16 2011 | Read Full Review of The Train of Small Mercies

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