The Passenger
January 4, 2023 1:43 PM - Subscribe

Cormac McCarthy returns with the first of a two-volume saga: The Passenger is the story of a salvage diver, haunted by loss, afraid of the watery deep, pursued for a conspiracy beyond his understanding, and longing for a death he cannot reconcile with God.

Pt 2 is called Stella Maris and has been reviewed as a companion piece to The Passenger. This book has been well reviewed, and I was not disappointed at all by the writing, but left wanting by the meandering non-story and the promise of an engaging thriller that was not delivered.
posted by OHenryPacey (1 comment total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I read these in December, really liked The Passenger except for the bizarro bits with the Thalidomide Kid and the rest of Alicia's hallucinations; I liked Stella Maris a lot better than I had thought I would, because I thought it would be all about those visions and even though it was, it wasn't. There's a lot of hifalutin mock (or real, how would I know?) mathematical philosophy in Stella Maris, like as if Gödel, Escher, Bach came to dinner, but McCarthy's language is just too beautiful to resist dragging me all the way into his world. I wasn't really happy with the unresolved bits of The Passenger (whatever did happen to him?) but I enjoyed Bobby's creeping paranoia, his driving and his discovery of those gold coins. Let the mystery be, I guess.

Sidenote: I'm not a fan of gothic incest, which McCarthy seems to be more than hinting at here, Flowers in the Attic style, but while it seems at times as if the Bobby/Alicia relationship will veer into the physical, it never really does, and in the end that's a relief. [Arguably it happens in the space between the books, which is why there are two of them, but that's obviously speculative]. I could have done without it entirely, I don't think it makes Alicia any more interesting as a character, and Bobby seems blithely (or willfully) ignorant of the looming dynamic.
posted by chavenet at 2:14 PM on January 5, 2023 [1 favorite]

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