Wednesday, January 04, 2012
Review: The Passage
The Passage by Justin Cronin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I devoured this book, all 700+ pages in 3 days, despite no taste for vamp-lit, which should tell you something. Now I know why most of the contemporary work in that genre left me cold: it wasn't this. No one needs to even bother writing another. Take THAT, Twilight!
Beyond being a great post-apocalyptic horror story, The Passage is, at it's core, about humans and what drives them. I think to Cronin, people are made of glass, and he can see inside of them as easily as you or I see what's on the other side of a window.
And Cronin not only sees what's inside, he presents it beautifully as master of the simile. Consider: "Texas, state-sized porkchop of misery." and"eyes...empty, like drains that could suck the whole world down into them."
And although I'm sure I'll go see it, I'm certain the planned movie version won't live up to the book. I like movies as much as the next guy, but The Passage is an example of why books will almost always trump them : film only captures the visual story, with almost no sense of the poetry of it's language -- a painting without the memories held in the hand of the painter. I think The Passage: The Movie, will likely be a pale, albeit entertaining, facsimile of the original.
My only critique is that the brilliance of the first 200 or so pages of Act I aren't sustained through to the end. The story continues to intrigue, but something about the writing just wasn't as luminous; maybe the characters that don't make it through to Act II were favorite's of Cronin? I don't know, but something changed. But if you are reading it, and around page 350 you get bogged down an consider bailing, re-consider: it is worth it.
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