Drick's Reviews > The Train of Small Mercies

The Train of Small Mercies by David Rowell
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's review
May 20, 2012

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bookshelves: fiction, history

This story takes place in June 1968, three days after presidential candidate Robert Kennedy has been assasinate after winning the California Primary. The train carrying his body is going from New York's Penn Station to Washington, DC where Kennedy will be buried next to his brother in Arlinton National Cemetery. This story follows the lives of several groups of people who are waiting to be pay tribute to the train as it passes by on its way to a final resting place. The stories follow a young black college student serving a a Pullman Porter for the summer, a mother and daughter trying to connect with each other, four young boys one of whom has experienced his parents' divorce, a pair of newlyweds trying to deal with the fact they can't have children, an Irish immigrant waiting to be interviewed as the Kennedy's nanny, and a Vietnam War vet who is coping with the loss of a leg in battle. Through this story the author highlights the concerns, tensions and struggles of that era, both personal and societal. While not an outstanding read, the stories of the characters kept my attention. He shows how any time in history can capture all time, and all time is capture in a moment.

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