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Night Trains Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 207 pages
  • Publisher: Cold Spring Press (November 7, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593600801
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593600808
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,047,068 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 8 customer reviews
I too bought this book because I so enjoyed reading Mr Chrenkoff's blog.
R. Mardis
Regardless of literary merit, however, there is action and suspense and romantic interest in the sort of desparate and doomed way that makes the best tragic drama.
Claymore6
I cant recommend this story too highly for anyone who is interested in WWII, the holocaust, and of course trains.
Donald C. Schwartz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Sidoti on November 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
Night Trains was entertaining, thought-provoking, and an all around great work of fiction.

Whereas most first-time authors play it safe and don't write anything complex, Arthur Chrenkoff molded an intricate web of time travel, deceit, genocide, and personal strife into a suspenseful, fascinating, coherent novel.

Being familiar with Chrenkoff's non-fictional work, I wasn't sure how well his proven talent with writing would do in a fictional genre, but from the opening paragraph I was captivated. His characters were well built, the plot was extremely interesting to follow, and I couldn't put the book down until I was finished.

It's clear that the author mingled his personal experiences from growing up in Cold War Poland with his life in modern Australia, which made for a more unique, believable, and enjoyable perspective throughout the book.

I highly recommend this book to fans of all genres looking for a great read, as well as to young writers who could use a gutsy example of how to write an outstanding first novel.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Claymore6 on November 25, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is thought-provoking and philosophical in a way that manages to be so without being dull or pedantic. I read it in a single sitting, literally unable to put it down. Ask yourself the question with which the main character finds himself confronted: If faced with existential evil and with no way to do anything about it except what seems like marginal activities that promise little return, no reward, and grave danger (and with every opportunity to simply ignore it without personal consequence) what would you do? Turn away? Or risk everything even if it seems hopeless? And why?

Don't try to read this as a thriller with a plot, story, and ending that ties everything up into a neat narrative. This is a book about the emotional and philosophical journey made by characters who are real and believable for all that they are briefly and only cursorily described... in a way, Mr. Chrenkoff's characterizations remind me of the short stories of Chekhov (if you're interested in that sort of thing).

Regardless of literary merit, however, there is action and suspense and romantic interest in the sort of desparate and doomed way that makes the best tragic drama. All of it is set in a pseudo-noir atmosphere of literal (as well as existential) night, complete with the forlorn scream of the whistles and the rattle of the steam trains that provide the title. That these trains travel on harrowing journeys that echo the screams and journeys of the human characters is an amazing and gripping device that will drag you to a conclusion. And that conclusion will truly make you think on the journey you have just taken.

What makes us moral beings in an existential world of free will? What causes us to do the right thing, even at cost and without reward? Read this book and, when you get to the end, ask yourself these questions.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W Boudville HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 12, 2006
Format: Paperback
Chrenkoff debuts with an impressive first novel. A grim fantasy that oscillates between early 21st century Brisbane and Occupied Europe during World War 2. Standard fantasy fare often invokes some imaginary evil element, against which the protagonists struggle. But Night Trains deals with the all too real historical evil of Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

Much in the novel is deliberately left unexplained, from a rational standpoint. Fair enough, as this is explicitly fantasy. The writing quality is not bad. But for me, reading the plot was like listening to a coffeehouse band with a song that has a few intriguing chords, but which then devolves into undistinguished blandness. The main female character is never developed sufficiently. Mostly cardboard. And the hero finds that he can transport a person back to his 21st century timeline, though at heavy cost. Even so, there was clear potential for the author to expand this aspect. For it lets the hero bring victims to his time, where we could see their reaction to how the war ended and the later changes in the world.

In many ways, I found myself comparing this book to the classic "Time and Again" by Jack Finney. Chrenkoff should certainly not produce a work explicitly derivative from Finney. Don't misunderstand me. But, if you will, read Night Trains and Finney back to back. Finney provides a far more coherent and satisfying internal framework. Sure, Chrenkoff's book is fantasy. But remember that for fantasy, perhaps more so than for other genres, internal consistency is a must.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John B. Piper Jr. on June 19, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thank you, Mr. Chrenkoff, for bringing back the edgy tension and fire I once found in fiction but only in the beginning, in my teens. This brought it back -- brought it all back. Future editions might correct the occasional typos and grammatical errors; minor editorial input might have removed an odd elbow here and there -- but this edition I'll cherish because the printing flaws subtly add to the mini-cam/16 mm quality of images in feverish motion: jumpy, raw, washed out, jarring, etched in contrasts. What a ride. And what a journey. I knew something of the geography but not the settings; I knew certain events but not the people; but I took a ride on a riveting, well crafted piece of story-telling and came away with living memories. A separate thank you for that. And a tip for readers: don't wait.
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