Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Passage

I missed all the hype about Justin Cronin's Passage before I read it, which is great. I love having no expectations before I start a novel. If I had know about the bidding war for the screenplay, or his massive advance for the novel, I might have been more jaded as I read the book.

Instead, I began with a free sample from kindle, and quickly ended my long dry spell from reading. I have been suffering from some sort of doldrum or crippling book ADD, unable to finish the last 10 or 15 books I have started. I'm on track to read less books this year than any other in the last 5 years. Sad. But this book changed everything.

The Passage had me at the first chapter. By the middle of the massive 760-some pages (it's really hard to tell when you read on kindle!) I was obsessed. This story is truly epic, crosses a myriad of genres, literary devices and geographic locations and timelines, not to mention a host of characters that were sometimes a challenge to keep straight. But the story ruled. It carried me along, swept me away and cost me a lot of sleep. I inhaled it in 48 hours, and I could think of nothing but finishing it. I fell in love with at least five different characters, and think of them still, a week after I finished the book.

What's it about? It doesn't seem fair to say vampires, or the apocalypse, or the future, or medical expirements gone awry. It's about love and hope and courage, mostly. It is beautifully written, superbly crafted, eerily prescient, and the best summer read I can recommend. I'll probably read it again before the summer is over, because it is that good.

If you like The Stand, The Road, The Hot Zone, or anything by Michael Crighton, this book will entertain you and leave you wanting more. Thankfully, there is a sequel, but the wait will be long. There will be a movie, with Ridley Scott at the helm and John Logan from Gladiator writing the screenplay. I can't wait.