The Passage

“Cars and trucks were parked at haphazard angles along the roadway, some with their doors standing open – the moment of their drivers’ flight frozen in time – but in others, were the dried-out corpses known as slims:raggy masses of bones folded over the dashboards or pressed against the windows, their shriveled forms virtually unrecognizable as human beings except for a tuft of stiffened hair still tied with a ribbon, or the glinting metal of a watch on a skinless hand that stalk, after nearly a hundred years, clutched the steering wheel of a pickup truck sunk to the tops of its wheel wells. All of it unmoving and silent as the grave, all just as it had been since the Time Before.”

I read it at breakfast, English muffin with butter on one side, strawberry jam on the other, English breakfast tea with skim milk. I read it at lunch, often leftovers from dinner, sometimes stir fried noodles, sometimes pasta, or if there were no leftovers, a sandwich or salad. I occasionally read it at dinner, on the nights when the husband worked late, Japanese curry with rice one day, spinach salad with grilled sausage and toasted slices of garlic cheese bread from Trader Joe’s the next. I read it when taking a break from geography research. My overworked and sometimes bored brain needing a thrilling outlet. I read it after my shower, when the husband was playing an iphone game or taking his shower. I read it just before going to sleep, images filling my sleepy head, what dreams I must have had those nights, waking relieved that I couldn’t remember any of them.

And then the end.

I haven’t been able to really pick up another book yet. The only thing I’ve managed to finish reading is Sandman: The Kindly Ones (which I must say made me wonder if the Sandman series can get any better than that). And Kick Ass comic book #1 (funnier than I expected).

Paul Harding’s Tinkers sits on the nightstand waiting to be touched. Instead I’ve been fiddling with my birthday present from the husband, a very bright and shiny iPad (which is where I read Kick Ass and am also using to type this very blog post thanks to the lovely WordPress app).

It seemed easier to leap from the Wolf Hall branch to The Passage branch. But I feel like I’m clinging to the remnants of The Passage, perhaps because of the way it ended? I don’t want to talk too much about its storyline. If you haven’t read it yet – or read about it – I think it’s best to go in with vision blurred. I knew there was something about vampires and that was about it. I think I was expecting to be a little like that Guillermo Del Toro vampire romp. But it turned out to be more than that.

I know, you must be thinking, it’s 700+ pages! And you’re probably library queue no 700+ too. But those pages zip by. You might also be thinking, wait, didn’t you give it 3 stars on Good Reads? Why are you talking it up so? Yes, I did give it 3 stars, Good Reads doesn’t have half stars otherwise it’d have gotten 3.5 from me. I did like it (having a soft spot for vampires and dystopian worlds) and I had a great time reading it but I think I made the mistake of reading it right on the tail of Wolf Hall. And to be honest, I had a bit of The Passage publicity fatigue. Could it not scream ‘read me!’ any louder? So I struggled with the rating. I gave it a 4 then I gave it a 3. So I decided that technically it was a 3.5. And that’s not too bad is it?

If you’re in the mood for a chunkster, one where humankind is flailing and bad things happen, The Passage would make for a mighty fine weight on your nightstand (just don’t fall asleep while reading it). If you’re in the mood for a chunkster, one where humankind is flailing and bad things actually did happen, Wolf Hall would make for a mighty fine weight on your nightstand (and if you have BOTH books they make for a fine nightstand on their own).

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9 thoughts on “The Passage

  1. Ooh, i can’t tell Chuck that you got an iPad for your birthday. He wants one so bad, I can actually hear him wishing for one occasionally.

    Reading The Passage now, and it is quite the romp. Pretty sure I dreamed about it last night, but luckily the vividness had faded by the time I got up.

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  2. I don’t consider myself to be a particularly huge fan of vampire stories or dystopian novels, but I am intrigued by The Passage. Possibly because I was under the impression that it was some sort of serious historical fiction piece. The Count of Monte Cristo and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo are in line before it, but perhaps I will pick up The Passage after that.

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    1. Actually I realized that I haven’t really read that many vampire stories either, especially the more popular ones like the True Blood series and Twilight. The Passage attracted because I was also curious about an English professor writing about vampires. Heh. Turned out better than expected.

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    1. Interesting! I mostly avoided reading reviews before and while I was reading it. But since finishing, I have seen a few reviews and they were quite positive too. So Im quite surprised!

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