A review of "The Passenger" and "Stella Maris" by Cormac McCarthy
Knopf, 400 pages, 2022
Knopf, 208 pages, 2022
The Passenger and Stella Maris, Cormac McCarthy’s first novels in 16 years, share a premise with David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: the first atomic detonation in the deserts of New Mexico loosed something unstoppable into the world—and, whatever else it has caused, or will cause, this event destroyed the life of a young woman decades later.
The experience of reading these novels is also a little like watching Lynch’s work: it’s hard to know what to make of them. Just what exactly are you reading: two novels or a single work? Are they really, as reviews and publicity materials have insisted, about religion, theoretical physics, and advanced mathematics? Is the occasional incoherence, buffered by moments of deep beauty and unexpected humor, deliberate or a story coming apart at its seams?