The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Road, Cormac McCarthy returns after a 16-year hiatus with a two-book series. In the first, The Passenger (released yesterday), Bobby Western, son of a nuclear physicist who worked on the atomic bomb, is a salvage diver hired to investigate a plane crash in the Gulf in 1980 New Orleans.
In Stella Maris, his concluding novel set eight years earlier, McCarthy trains his lens on Bobby Western's sister, Alicia Western, a brilliant mathematician diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Alicia is under the care of Dr. Cohen in a rural Wisconsin psychiatric hospital that gives the novel its name. The story unfolds as a series of dialogues between doctor and patient--just after Bobby has crashed his Formula 1 car in Italy and is lying in a coma. Together, the novels take readers deep into each sibling's perspective, probing questions of the genius/madness divide, intimacy and the inheritance of trauma. The two books are also available in a boxed set.