Paula Hawkin's novel breaks all-time book sales record

The Girl on the Train, breaks record outlasting even Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol

A record set six years ago by Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol was broken this week by Paula Hawkins’s dark thriller The Girl on the Train.

The Zimbabwe-born, London-based novelist published her breakout hit book 'The Girl on the Train' in the United States back on January 13, and since then it has been wildfire hot with both critics and general readers.

This much-lauded psychological debut features a woman prone to blackouts and drunk dialling.

Hawkins’ novel sold 7,280 copies last week, to keep its top position in original fiction, almost double the second-placed Pretty Girls, by Karin Slaughter. Publisher Transworld said that it has sold more than 800,000 copies since The Girl on the Train was published in January.

It added that The Girl on the train has spent more than 20 weeks on the No 1 slot, even EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey spent just 19 weeks at No 1, also in the paperback charts.

Waterstones buyer Joseph Knobbs told The guardian that the novel’s performance is an “old-fashioned” publishing success story. “What’s been astounding about its continued success is that it’s entirely natural. No squad of jet fighters sky-writing its name in the air; just an old-fashioned story of a talented author, impassioned publisher and enthusiastic booksellers,” he said.

Hawkins’s editor Sarah Adams said that when she first read the novel, she “felt Paula was speaking directly to me as a commuter – just what would I do if I saw something untoward out of the train window? Could I be certain I wouldn’t step out of my comfort zone, out of my everyday existence, and become involved?”

“It is a concept that has chimed with countless readers worldwide, and propelled the exceptional word-of-mouth sales,” she said. “To see The Girl On The Train breaking records and achieving quite this level of success is true testament to the exceptional talent of Paula Hawkins and the intoxicating novel she has written.”


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