The Passenger

Hardcover, 400 pages

Published Oct. 25, 2022 by Knopf.

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4 stars (5 reviews)

Nominee for Best Historical Fiction (2022) 1980, PASS CHRISTIAN, MISSISSIPPI: It is three in the morning when Bobby Western zips the jacket of his wetsuit and plunges from the boat deck into darkness. His divelight illuminates the sunken jet, nine bodies still buckled in their seats, hair floating, eyes devoid of speculation. Missing from the crash site are the pilot’s flightbag, the plane’s black box, and the tenth passenger. But how? A collateral witness to machinations that can only bring him harm, Western is shadowed in body and spirit – by men with badges; by the ghost of his father, inventor of the bomb that melted glass and flesh in Hiroshima; and by his sister, the love and ruin of his soul.

Traversing the American South, from the garrulous bar rooms of New Orleans to an abandoned oil rig off the Florida coast, The Passenger is a breathtaking novel of …

1 edition

Cormac McCarthy Writes a Cormac McCarthy Book

4 stars

What a strange book. Many questions posed, few answered. Conversations that you have to follow on your own. Punctuation optional. If you don't like how thick McCarthy's writing can get, you definitely do not want to read this one. I found that I could only handle a chapter (or less) at a time because I had to think so hard and pay attention to what was going on. I re-read many lines to try to understand them. Re-read entire passages to figure out who was actually speaking.

I've read a number of other McCarthy books, so I knew what I was getting into, vocabulary wise. I think as you get used to his style it gets easier to read, though.

A lot of philosophical ideas presented in the conversations between the main character and his cast of "friends." Western's role in the story felt more like a sponge for pain …

What else?

4 stars

The best moments in Cormac McCarthy's last novel are dialogues that thread out different philosophies. They mingle the threat of nuclear war with fear of surveillance, weang physics and mathematics with literature and drama. It feels like a culmination of McCarthy's life's work, with thoughts on violence, friendship and major moments in 20th Century US history central to a story that is primarily about loss. The prose is addictively brilliant.

The beauty of the book culminates in a wonderful final section that is heartbreaking, and devastating, and perfect. It is a fitting half-farewell (accompanied by Stella Maris, released alongside this book).

An evocative, moody, where-is-this-going?

No rating

At first this books seems like a dabbling in genre like The Road (oh, another post-apocalyptic story) but then, like The Road, you forget about that and get drawn in by the mood and evocative prose. It's almost all discourse, similar to the end of No Country for Old Men, challenging with the long dialogue (and topics ranging from the mundane to subatomic physics) and you really have to pay attention to keep track of who's saying what, but nevertheless absorbing. Story-wise, it may leave you unsatisfied, but you're at least left with a writing lesson and a desire to read the sequel/prequel.

Review of 'The Passenger' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Cormac McCarthy is one of our great writers, no doubt. The Road was a masterpiece. This one is very very good, but not, in my eyes, amazing (which is what it takes for me to give 5 stars). He has an incredible ear for dialog, and I'm very much looking forward to the second book in this series.

Maybe I missed it, but he sets up a mystery (or a couple) and never resolves them. Again, might be in the second book.

The reader for Audible is very good.

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rated it

4 stars