Stella Maris (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Now we get Bobby Western's sisters tale. Alicia commits herself to a psychiatric hospital because, as we know from The Passenger, she has had delusions for most of her life. In a series of discussions with her psychiatrist, we are dazzled by clever wordplay, math, and the relationship between a sister and brother. This is a fast and challenging read. Cormac McCarthy has deftly fleshed out a brilliant mathematician in Alicia, who struggles with the world and how it works.

— Jason Kennedy

Stella Maris is the second book, a coda if you will, of Cormac McCarthy's duology* that began with The Passenger. From what I had heard, I was expecting a kind of Rashomon**-like experience with different characters recasting themselves in the lead role, shoehorning themselves into the center of events, whose perspectives contradict and utterly supersede those of all others. But, that's not quite it. More like McCarthy was so enthralled with the backstory of one of The Passenger's major characters (if, for the most part, an off-stage character - a sort of Fifth Business***), he couldn't help but bring them to the fore and flesh out their story. We can only be grateful that he did. We come to know one of the most richly layered, intricately developed, deeply flawed yet completely compelling characters you'd ever hope to meet in fiction. The sister of The Passenger's protagonist is very much the lynchpin that ties everything together, and so maybe Fifth Business after all.


*Like a trilogy, but with two books - I suppose that's better than calling it a bi-ology.

**The book of short stories by the Japanese master Ryuno Akutagwa, perhaps better known from the 1950 film adaptation by the great Akira Kurosawa.

***The role in a play or opera that is neither hero nor heroine, villain nor confidante, but is absolutely essential to bringing about the story's denouement - like some doddering old nurse who absentmindedly switched two babies at birth only to reveal all at the end.

— Conrad Silverberg

Product Details
ISBN: 9788954696623
ISBN-10: 8954696627
Publisher: Munhak Dongnae
Publication Date: November 30th, 2023
Language: Korean