Monday, November 21, 2022

The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy


Bobby Western is a deep sea diver who dreads it every time he descends.  He knows there is evil in the world and he accepts that it could come for him anytime.  Bobby loved only one woman in his life and that was his sister.  She walked out into the snow one night about ten years ago and laid down to be found dead the next morning.  Since then Bobby has lived a life that has seemed empty.

Now he has new problems.  The IRS is after him and to try to make their case, they have taken his work, his passport and all his money and belongings.  The only thing left for Bobby is to become someone else.  Someone different than the man whose father worked on the atomic bomb that rained destruction on Hiroshima.  The man whose sister was the smartest person he ever met and whose shadow he can't move beyond.

Cormac McCarthy hasn't released a novel in sixteen years.  This one is bleak yet compelling.  There are passages that show the disorder of his sister's mind, a genius yet schizophrenic.  There are passages about the world of psychics.  Yet above all, there are passages about Bobby Western, trying to make his way through the world without hurting others and brooding on the meaning of life.  It is a bleak book yet perhaps illustrative of the life many people live.  This book is recommended for readers of literary fiction. 

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