What is The Passenger about?

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  • 24 Jan 2016 at 4:25 pm #8061

    Clement
    Member

    Regarding The Passenger: The Godel stuff is interesting, but is there ever the implication in his proof that you can get outside the system? Purportedly, in his unpublished papers there is an ontological proof for the existence of God. There seems to be a contradiction here. Just thinking out loud as I loosely prepare for the release of the novel. Also, when Godel died he weighed 75 lbs. One of his delusions was that someone was trying to poison him. Hence the importance of Adele in his life. At the Institute of Advanced Studies he chummed with Einstein, got worse after the great man’s death, and, if I remember right, received some dismissive treatment from Andre Weil the mathematician and brother of Simone Weil. Simone Weill had also wasted away to nothing. Weil (Andre) had coined the term Adele Ring back in the 30’s. It has nothing to do with Godel’s wife of course (I’m pretty sure anyways), but interesting non-the-less. Anyways, I already suspect where I’m going with this, and a fool’s errand it is without a text- but I already want to see a Weil-Godel-Weill dynamic in the novel.

    Probably this connection exists for me because of Palle Yourgrau’s books on Godel and Simone Weill, A World Without Time: The Forgotten Legacy of Kurt Godel (2005) and Simone Weil(Critical Lives, 2011) Curioiusly enough, Yourgrau never really allows the two milieus he is describing to crossover into the other book, other than the factuality of Andre Weil in both.


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    25 Jan 2016 at 2:51 pm #8065

    Richard L.
    Member

    All interesting stuff, Clem.

    I don’t think that THE PASSENGER will be about Gödel’s life explicitly, but as a universal–awareness of the human predicament so often leading to madness, Gödel, Schumann, Nietzsche, and so many other brilliant men who went mad or otherwise wound up in institutions if not as suicides, a la THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN.

    Hemingway is quoted as saying that the more aware people are, the unhappier they get, after his hero Spanish novelist, Pio Baroja, whose coming of age novel had his protagonist get progressively unhappy and leaned more toward madness the more he learned. Hemingway admired THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN and, according to some scholars, styled FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS after it, at least in part.


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    25 Jan 2016 at 10:54 pm #8067

    Richard L.
    Member

    Re: the occult in THE PASSENGER

    I don’t doubt that numerology will play its part in THE PASSENGER, but it will probably be something like the tarot in BLOOD MERIDIAN, seances in THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN, and gypsy fortune telling in FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS.

    These novels are all inclusive, expansive novels, designed to be read differently by different readers, lending themselves to Judge Holden’s parable that one man’s story should be every man’s story. You find your own string in the maze.

    This is also Complexity Theory, or Chaos theory, if you will. Musically, it is like the Goldberg Variations, and it incorporates a model of Schrodinger’s theory and hence quantum mechanics. Your consciousness looks for a pattern in the novel and as soon you see it, it becomes true.

    Once again, I’ll recommend Andrew Crummy’s MOBIUS DICK (2004) as a prequel read to THE PASSENGER. Wikipedia says:

    The science-fiction plot centres on a mysterious mountain hospital in the Scottish highlands. Interweaving tales re-write the historical stories of classic composer Robert Schumann’s stay in similar clinic in Endenich and Schrödinger’s visit to the Alpine sanatorium of Arosa, both of which echo the situation in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. Connections are drawn from the tales of E. T. A. Hoffmann, particularly The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr.

    The real classical music he cites, which circle like the Goldberg Variations, are based upon Hoffmann’s real 1811 work in which pages are randomly placed, comically confusing the biography of the composer with that of his cat (and which naturally makes us think of Schrodinger’s Cat). They didn’t know anything of quantum mechanics back then, but as with Melville’s expansive novel, MOBY DICK, we can give it that interpretation. And there is much more fun to be had in here.

    The synchronicity also rises.


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    11 Feb 2016 at 2:58 pm #8144

    Giovanni
    Member

    Hello,i’m new in this forum and i’m a 21 years old italian reader of cormac mccarthy,so excuse me for my horrible english and forgive my mistakes,but it’s so hard to find intresting people on the net that love mccarthys works.
    Can somebody tell me if there is an official release date for The passanger or if there are voices on when it will be out more unless?

    i did’t always understand what you write because you all seem to be very intelligent people and all of you speak in a very technical way,but i try my best to complete my knowlege of the leanguage so that one day i ‘ll be able to read cormac mccarthys novels in english.

    bye bye


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    13 Feb 2016 at 4:34 am #8147

    Birne
    Member

    There is no official publication date.

    Last summer at the reading in Santa Fe
    http://www.santafe.edu/news/item/sfis-krakauer-mccarthys-new-work-be-featured-august-5-art-event/
    it was mentioned that the passenger (or parts of it) might come out at some point this year. But this is mere speculation as the publishers or editors or basically any ‘official’ person decline statements about the publication.

    A realistic point of view towards this matter seems to suggest that the publication date of such a novel by a famous and bestselling author would be officially announced at least ~half a year in advance (cf. recent publications of Roth, Pynchon, DeLillo, etc.). If that was not the case the publisher would effectively burn money. And anyway, there wouldn’t be any point in keeping this a secret, and the publication process takes much longer than half a year anyway. So, best guess by a nobody like me: certainly not before early fall this year (cf. the Amazon dummies that have been shifted a lot of times the last couple of years). However, I personally don’t think it will see the light of day at all this year if there isn’t any official announcement very soon, at the latest in spring (May, June)…

    I won’t keep my fingers crossed…


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    13 Feb 2016 at 9:45 am #8149

    Glass
    Member

    The Passenger. Anyone have any thoughts about the title?

    I thought about Suttree. He’s a passenger. I wondered about other “passengers” in McCarthy just going along for the ride. The kid, for instance. He rode on. And I recently ran across an interesting article on technological determinism that opens with these particularly salient ideas:

    There are two kinds of technology critics. On one side are the determinists, who see the history of technology as one of inexorable progress, advancing according to its own Darwinian logic—the wheel, the steam engine, the autonomous car—while humans remain its hapless passengers. It is a fatalistic vision, one even the Luddite can find bewitching. “We do not ride upon the railroad,” Thoreau said, watching the locomotive barrel through his forest retreat. “It rides upon us.” On the opposite side of the tracks lie the social constructivists. They want to know where the train came from, and also, why a train? Why not something else? Constructivists insist that the development of technology is an open process, capable of different outcomes; they are curious about the social and economic forces that shape each invention. (Meghan O’Gieblyn in the Boston Review)

    Hapless passengers. I like that.


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    14 Feb 2016 at 8:19 am #8154

    Giovanni
    Member

    Birne: There is no official publication date.

    Last summer at the reading in Santa Fe
    http://www.santafe.edu/news/item/sfis-krakauer-mccarthys-new-work-be-featured-august-5-art-event/
    it was mentioned that the passenger (or parts of it) might come out at some point this year. But this is mere speculation as the publishers or editors or basically any ‘official’ person decline statements about the publication.

    A realistic point of view towards this matter seems to suggest that the publication date of such a novel by a famous and bestselling author would be officially announced at least ~half a year in advance (cf. recent publications of Roth, Pynchon, DeLillo, etc.). If that was not the case the publisher would effectively burn money. And anyway, there wouldn’t be any point in keeping this a secret, and the publication process takes much longer than half a year anyway. So, best guess by a nobody like me: certainly not before early fall this year (cf. the Amazon dummies that have been shifted a lot of times the last couple of years). However, I personally don’t think it will see the light of day at all this year if there isn’t any official announcement very soon, at the latest in spring (May, June)…

    I won’t keep my fingers crossed…

    thank you,is like i thought,we have to wait for another year or more.But i’m sure that it will be a masterpiece,and according to the lecture in SFI,this will be a very different novel compared to the previous work of mccarthy.I think that it could be the most ambitiuos one,after blood meridian and suttree.


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    14 Feb 2016 at 8:35 am #8155

    Birne
    Member

    Giovanni: But i’m sure that it will be a masterpiece

    I am not so sure about that. The snippets of the reading do not convince me. The experiment could go terribly wrong. And how many authors do you know who published a ‘masterwork’ in their mid-eigthies? But I am a pessimist, so lets hope that the Passenger will be one of the very few glorious exceptions…


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    15 Feb 2016 at 9:31 am #8159

    Giovanni
    Member

    Birne: I am not so sure about that. The snippets of the reading do not convince me. The experiment could go terribly wrong. And how many authors do you know who published a ‘masterwork’ in their mid-eigthies? But I am a pessimist, so lets hope that the Passenger will be one of the very few glorious exceptions…

    you’re right,there aren’t many writers who have become better in the last few years of their life,but we are not talking about an ordinary writer;and i admire an author who tries to reinvent himself and tries to talk about different things in a different way,especially in their older age. The passenger is a 10-15 years in the making novel,mccarthy really worked hard on it and i’m sure that a life time spent in the SFI have tech to him much more than what he wrote in his past novels. And i also hope that a novel that speaks of different themes could help him to cancel the reputation that some people have of him:in Italy many people don’t read him because they think that he is a writer who write about horses,guns,cowboys,blood and violence. They think that his novels are just a diversion for the fanatics of that kind of things. They don’t even imagine the incredible deep issues that mccarthy puts in his novel about God,life,reality,destiny,free will,morality and so on.I hope that a novel with “serious” themes could bring many readers to his previous works.

    i’m sorry again for my horrible english,i’ll improve,i promise


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    19 Oct 2016 at 12:15 pm #8647

    westonS
    Member

    Eureka! Physics and math will be in the forefront of a McCarthy novel. I have always found it lurking throughout his works and now it looks like it will be on center stage…..I can’t wait.

    These are the names that have populated my reading and studies: “Werner Heisenberg, Robert Oppenheimer, Wolfgang Ernst Pauli, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, James Clerk Maxwell, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Johann Carl Friedrich Gauss, Leonhard Euler, and John von Neumann.”

    This could be my favorite novel of all time and I can’t even read it yet!

    The high-intelligence/madness angle is very interesting:

    Another important physicist and philosopher to walk this line was Ludwig Boltzmann. He developed the field of statistical mechanics, and he worked out the concept of Entropy! (a dire result for the universe indeed)

    Boltzmann hanged himself.

    On his tombstone is his Entropy formula: S = klogW


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