Take the Late Train: Funny and wise, intelligent and disturbing – a memorable journey into the heart of life, love and memory.

Stephen Ketley’s life goes off the rails on the night of his tenth wedding anniversary. Suddenly, his marriage to Sarah is not quite as secure as it seems. Meanwhile, his stepdaughter Emma relies on him to mediate between her warring parents, his sister refuses to speak to him, and Audrey his mother drinks too much and shouts too loud. As his certainties fragment, Stephen recalls an idyllic summer in Florence with his first love, Giuliana. Forced to choose between career and love, authenticity and conformity, how can he make a decision when nothing is certain, least of all himself?


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Take the Late Train by Jack Messenger

‘Take the Late Train is largely set in Nottingham, UK, with several excursions – to London, to Matlock and to Florence in Italy. It forms a bridge between Farewell Olympus and another novel, called Noah’s Arc (details here). The writing in Take the Late Train is direct and unornamented, with lots of conversation and argument, and plenty of humour. I like the the theme of loss and love in this novel, and there are plenty of literary and filmic allusions too.’ Jack Messenger

  • Great Characters

    Audrey, a jazz great whose complex problems and fall from grace wreck her family, but whose voice still beguiles and enchants

  • Powerful Writing

    Stephen’s secure life of teaching and marriage is shaken by professional and emotional betrayal and memories that cannot be forgotten

  • Intriguing Storyline

    Is the past – in the shape of Giuliana and the love they shared – really over or is it waiting for him at the end of the line?

Take the Late Train

Take the Late Train shows how it’s better to arrive late than not to arrive at all. The choices we make are not always irreversible, even if they seem so.

What Other People Are Saying About Take the Late Train


‘Canny and observant – a sharp and eloquent meditation on finding one’s truth. Simply wonderful.’ (Ginger Bensman, author)