Cormac McCarthy Bookends

The Passenger

Cormac McCarthy Bookends

Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

I started Stella Maris first, read a few pages, then the library posted along a notice that the first book was available, so I snagged it and realized, these are bookends, maybe a set of twins.

“Before we mire up too deep in the accusatory voice it might be well to remind ourselves that you cant misrepresent what has yet to occur.” Page 86.

It’s the Kid speaking. Perhaps a hallucination or the product of a fevered, fervid mind. Musical note? “Madness takes its toll.” (Anyone?)

It’s the voice, and the structure, and each new book should be an adventure, which it is, but also an exploration.

I bought this as a hardback first edition, but then read it — the first time — in a digital library form. Regrettably, I had misadjusted the software, and it rendered the dictionary/word/phrase look up null. Too bad, as that was one of the reasons for the library copy. But it is a book that would bear fruit reading a second time.

“For all my ragging there are times when I see with a cold clarity the wisdom of the path you’ve chosen.” Page 233.

Only makes sense. The prose seems more fluid and less tortured.

Rather more enjoyable but arguably, like some other works of “great literature?” Almost demands a running set of notes to make sense of the various allusions and side trips. From other reviews I’ve glanced through, there seems to be a number of different take-away points as to meaning and metaphor.

“I have a feeling that the shape of your interior life is something you believe somehow exempts you from other considerations.” Page 261.

After a couple of days, and before I get into the next novel? I realized what was captivating about The Passenger, it was insanely interesting.

There is a rich cacophony of voices, like voices in one’s head, and with at least one character, one narrative voice in the first book, that’s exactly what it is, the crazy apparitions that one sees. Listens to. Whatever one would call it.

However, over the years, I found this novel the most readable of any of his so far.

Since I started this backwards?

Stella Maris

Cormac McCarthy Bookends

“I think maybe it’s harder to lose just one thing than to lose everything.” Page 11.

It is. Maybe.

Variations on Catch-22 as an idea.

Belay that thought.

Back, later.

Think there is something to that, the previous Sylvia Plath reference.

“Stella Maris,” Latin for Star of the Sea.

“There is a fusion in the memory of events which is at loose ends where reality is concerned.” Page 24.

With its various attribution, the expression is about “The problem with arguing with a pig in slop is sooner or later, you realize you both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

Mental anguish for the mentally unstable? Differently abled?

Sidebar (nothing to do with anything): As I was reading this, end of 2022, start of the new year? I was assailed by the usual collection of new year memes, mostly of dubious taste — my style. But one was an echo, and I’m not sure how to take the Stella Maris novel, as I was inching my way through the prose. “2023: this is my year! I’ll be unstable!” The next text bubble? “Unstoppable. Damned autocorrect!”

Again, just a notice that circulated, and I might have it wrong, but the early pages of Stella Maris? That’s the question. It does wrap another layer around the story from the previous novel, and that’s why these are bookends, of sorts.

Ghosts. Madness. I’d do a nod towards Hamlet and his dead dad with spectral dead father issues floating amongst the ruins of a life.

Madness Hamlet Years back, my sister talked about higher math, and she was either taking post-grad courses in math, or contemplating it, her with the science degree, and her final assessment, as I recall? That higher mathematics isn’t a lot different from my fuzzy metaphysics. Important as the second book delves into questions of what is reality, framed against the setting of the notable minds of the last century as we all entertain pop-particle physics. Pop-particle physics and the math that supports these world views? Sure.

Or just fundamental discussions with a crazy person who might not be that crazy. Never can tell.

Clever tales.

Cormac McCarthy Bookends

The Passenger


Stella Maris


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