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The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy

The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy

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The Pulitzer Prizewinning author of The Road returns with the first of a two-volume masterpiece: 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.

Look for Stella Maris, the second volume in The Passenger series, on sale December 6th, 2022

1980, PASS CHRISTIAN, MISSISSIPPI: It is three in the morning when Bobby Western zips the jacket of his wet suit and plunges from the Coast Guard tender into darkness. His dive light 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 flight bag, 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 barrooms of New Orleans to an abandoned oil rig off the Florida coast, 
The Passenger is a breathtaking novel of morality and science, the legacy of sin, and the madness that is human consciousness.


“A brilliant book…A stunning accomplishment…McCarthy turns his substantial writerly gifts upon two distinct forces: the mechanical and the theoretical. He attends to the exquisite detail of Bobby’s physical world — the sounds and feel of an oil rig in a storm, the touch and clunk of a cigarette machine in a bar, the step-by-step process of removing a bathroom cabinet or digging up and carting off buried treasure…It’s Cormac McCarthy writing as only Cormac McCarthy can.”Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times

“McCarthy has assembled all the chilling ingredients of a locked-room mystery. But he leaps outside the boundaries of that antique form, just as he reworked the apocalypse in The Road… Western knows he’s suspected of something, but he’s not told what. The two men who repeatedly question him never drop their formal politeness — never flash a bolt gun like Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men — but Western knows that his life is in danger and that he must run… The style — a mingling of profound contemplation and rapid-fire dialogue, always without quotation marks and often without attribution — is pure McCarthy.”—Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“With the publication of The Passenger and its companion novel Stella Maris, McCarthy seems to be done mining the myth of America. Instead, he ponders what it means to exist, and what our history tells us about our future… He digs into the big ideas of the universe, like human existence and what it means, as well as what our history and memory mean. He’s searching for something different… Where other writers venture into the mind and soul, McCarthy has leapt past that to ask what a soul is—and if it even exists…. McCarthy is no longer searching in the dirt trail across the West and saying, ‘This is it. This is our human nature.’ In The Passenger and Stella Maris, he’s trying to see the God that made the man who wrote those words.”—Kevin Koczwara, Esquire

Publisher: Random House
ISBN: 978-0593663554
Pages: 576