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Paced by a rail journey from London to Paris, this novel is about two men thrown together by chance. Charles knows that he is near the end of his life and is on his way to meet his first lover, Madeleine, probably for the last time. Martin is hoping to escape from an unhappy marriage.

Just Crossing

Two men, one nearing the end of his life, the other at an important transition point in his, set off independently to travel from England to Paris. They are strangers but their paths cross on the Eurostar train at Waterloo Station. They happen to be seated next to each other for the three-hour journey, much to the irritation of Martin, the younger man, who regards Charles as a likely bore and distraction. As the journey progresses Charles tells Martin of his life. As the journey progresses Martin becomes more and more absorbed by the tale and it he identifies a new direction for his own life.

Charles is travelling to meet his first love, a Frenchwoman, for the last time. Martin is hoping to meet a new love. The book explores the background to each man’s journey, but also has a sub-text which examines the linking of the French to the British via the channel tunnel.

Charles had a very successful career at the core of a fast growing company which entailed much international travel. Martin has a job that he does not really like. Both men have attempted to escape the troughs of their lives through alcohol. Charles began drinking to assuage inconsolable losses caused by two near simultaneous events: dismissal from his job as a result of a boardroom conspiracy and the murder of his wife. He is rescued from terminal decline by the unending loyalty of his daughter. He then travels the world as a tourist for the first time in his life and through this enters into a deeply disastrous second marriage from which the only viable escape seems to be his own death. Martin’s life has been more mundane, though not without drama. Drawn into the sadness of his travelling companion’s account, he nonetheless responds to the enviable accounts of Charles’ early life and successful first marriage and begins to see its relevance to his own situation.

Just Crossing is a novel based on an actual incident in the author’s life where two strangers were thrown together by chance for just a few hours.


108,000 words

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