Tuesday, December 20, 2022

The Passenger (The Passenger, #1)The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Suffering is a part of the human condition and must be borne. But misery is a choice," and Bobby Western is a man in misery broken by the loss of his sister, several close friends, sought by government agents he knows not why, unemployed and unhoused much of the book allowing for extravagant descriptions of weather ("It had rained earlier and the moon lay in the wet street like platinum manhole cover.") nature, birds ("In the spring of the year birds began to arrive on the beach from across the gulf. Weary passerines. Vireos. Kingbirds and grosbeaks. Too exhausted to move. You could pick them up out of the sand and hold them trembling in your palm. Their small hearts beating and their eyes shuttering. He walked the beach with his flashlight the whole of the night to fend away predators and toward the dawn he slept with them in the sand. That none disturb these passengers."). The idea of the missing passenger from the downed plane is never clear, but I let it go as government chicanery. I meandered through the author's digressions on physics, math, war, atom bombs, guns, cars and Kennedys, what is a photon? I did not love the hallucinations and dream segments, but I would not, could not, stop reading because of the dialogue, rich descriptions and settings especially New Orleans and Ibiza. Is Bobby's future a "nameless burial in the hard caliche of a potter's field in a foreign land?" Reminded me of past reading treks with Robert Stone or Jim Harrison.

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