Book: The Passage by Justin Cronin
Publisher: Ballantine Books, 2010
Genre: Apocalyptic, Contemporary Fiction
Source + Date Read: Purchased + Dec. 2012
Recommend: For those that enjoy a good apocalyptic book, with a touch of contemporary fiction and literature.
Book Pro’s: Amazing imagination and creativity in this book. It’s a rare gem where the future is reimagined and so very different.
Book Con’s: It is incredibly long, almost too much so.
Favourite Line: “I am Babcock. I am Morrison. I am Chavez. I am Baffes-Turrell-Winston-Sosa-Echols-Lambright-Martinez-Reinhardt-Carter”
A beauty in blue, the cover designer perfectly captures a dark world, one complete with a serene yet menacing midnight blue and a ray of hope: of light. It is the cover that drew me to this book, the cover that made me want to touch it and trace out the stars.
Cronin’s The Passage is set in a future world, or actually, many worlds. There is the world of nothing, the future where the Virals run supreme and people hide behind lit walls and steel domes. There is the present where the American government sanctions tests on people- a mistake they surely regret. Then there is the past, where the first discovery is made. It begins there. The future world is the most fascinating, it shows human resilience and genius. The present world is a fearful one, one that we can actually imagine ourselves in, but hope to never see it come.
The Passage is chock full of characters, so many that it can be difficult to keep track of everyone, what they’re doing and if they’re even alive. We meet Wolgast and Amy, Peter, Alicia, Michael, Sarah, Hollis, Hightop, Greer, a group of nuns, and then we meet the virals. Zero and Babcock-Chavez-Morrison-Baffes-Turrell-Winston-Sosa-Echols-Lambright-Martinez-Reinhardt-Carter.
Who here likes chunksters? Those books that have over 500+ pages? Well we’ve got a doozy for you. I don’t know why it took so long for me to discover this book, I really don’t. There I was, in the local shack of a book store and there was this fat thing, this blue and fat book called The Passage. I bought it, at 9 BS Dollars how can you say no? And I am so glad that I did, it was brilliant.
Cronin’s book straddles many lines. It isn’t your typical apocalyptic novel, where the world comes to the end and everyone tries to eek out an existence in a barren wasteland. No, that is hardly the case. Rather, Cronin made a world of despair where people have developed a resilience to their situation that I find quite admirable. The book is also a literary feat, a sort of contemporary fiction book. This is achieved through Cronin’s use of excellent character development and setting. Every character is developed, they are so human that you cry when they die and you feel their joy every time something good happens. It’s amazing. The world they live in is so real, it’s terrifying.
Yet for some, this seemed to be the biggest challenge. It straddles so many genres and types that it can be confusing. You expect to read about A and end up reading X, Y, Z. Oh well, screw that complaint in my opinion because Cronin’s brilliant writing style makes up for it. He finds a way, somehow, to write in a manner that everyone can find something that they can like.
I have one quip though, the book is incredibly long and at times, it was a bit hard to continue. Cronin packs so much stuff into the book that you sort of get bored at times, trying to find out why this chapter is important. Later on it becomes important, but man, in the moment you just want to roll around and say why?
Despite this, I loved the book, I had to give it 4 page turns. It is just brilliant.