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Stella Maris
Cover of Stella Maris
Stella Maris
The best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Road returns with the second volume of The Passenger series: Stella Maris is an intimate portrait of grief and longing, as a young woman in a psychiatric facility seeks to understand her own existence.

1972, BLACK RIVER FALLS, WISCONSIN: Alicia Western, twenty years old, with forty thousand dollars in a plastic bag, admits herself to the hospital. A doctoral candidate in mathematics at the University of Chicago, Alicia has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and she does not want to talk about her brother, Bobby. Instead, she contemplates the nature of madness, the human insistence on one common experience of the world; she recalls a childhood where, by the age of seven, her own grandmother feared for her; she surveys the intersection of physics and philosophy; and she introduces her cohorts, her chimeras, the hallucinations that only she can see. All the while, she grieves for Bobby, not quite dead, not quite hers. Told entirely through the transcripts of Alicia’s psychiatric sessions, Stella Maris is a searching, rigorous, intellectually challenging coda to The Passenger, a philosophical inquiry that questions our notions of God, truth, and existence.
The best-selling, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Road returns with the second volume of The Passenger series: Stella Maris is an intimate portrait of grief and longing, as a young woman in a psychiatric facility seeks to understand her own existence.

1972, BLACK RIVER FALLS, WISCONSIN: Alicia Western, twenty years old, with forty thousand dollars in a plastic bag, admits herself to the hospital. A doctoral candidate in mathematics at the University of Chicago, Alicia has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and she does not want to talk about her brother, Bobby. Instead, she contemplates the nature of madness, the human insistence on one common experience of the world; she recalls a childhood where, by the age of seven, her own grandmother feared for her; she surveys the intersection of physics and philosophy; and she introduces her cohorts, her chimeras, the hallucinations that only she can see. All the while, she grieves for Bobby, not quite dead, not quite hers. Told entirely through the transcripts of Alicia’s psychiatric sessions, Stella Maris is a searching, rigorous, intellectually challenging coda to The Passenger, a philosophical inquiry that questions our notions of God, truth, and existence.
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About the Author-
  • The novels of the American writer, Cormac McCarthy, have received a number of literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His works adapted to film include All the Pretty Horses, The Road, and No Country for Old Men—the latter film receiving four Academy Awards, including the award for Best Picture.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 11, 2022
    McCarthy’s underwhelming companion piece to The Passenger, set eight years earlier, in 1972, begins with a one-paragraph case file for 20-year-old PhD candidate Alicia Western. Alicia, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, has been dropped off at Stella Maris, a psychiatric hospital in rural Wisconsin, with over $40,000 in cash. What follows is a series of conversations between Alicia and her psychiatrist, Dr. Cohen, written like a play but with no exposition, stage directions, or dialogue tags. The subjects include mathematics, quantum mechanics, music theory, and obscure philosophy. Before Alicia arrived at Stella Maris, her Formula 1 driver brother, Bobby Western, had a crash during a race that put him into a coma. She’s in love with Bobby, but refuses to talk about him with Cohen until the third act. There are scraps of humor (“Mathematics is ultimately a faith-based initiative. And faith is an uncertain business,” Alicia tells Cohen), though not much tension, as the reader already knows how things will end (Alicia’s body is discovered on the first page of The Passenger). McCarthy has swum in these waters before, and with more impressive strokes. Strangely, The Passenger offers a more successful ending to the story of Alicia and Bobby. Though this volume feels extraneous, McCarthy diehards will still flock to it.

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