Feb 23, 2011

The Passage

When I first heard about The Passage this was the cover I connected with it. The cover is so stark and haunting to me. Knowing that the story is dystopic tells you already that there is nothing good in store for this girl on the cover.

As a fan of dystpoian fiction, I am always on the lookout for new titles. I don’t care how dystopian they are, if they have one dystopic element they are usually interesting to me. Other than that one classification I don’t want to know anything else about the book before I read it. Once I have decided to read a book or see a movie I want to know nothing more than the information I needed to decide.

So I was curious about The Passage merely on principle and the fact that one person somewhere suggested that is may be dystopian. Then people started reading it and I started hearing how bloated and LONG it was. I started to worry that it was a not a good book for me. And yet I was still curious. I don’t think I would be the first to admit that negativity towards something I was interested in only makes me more interested. I put off reading it, I considered buying it buy decided not it.

Finally I tracked down the audio version and decided if I am going to read a book this long audio is the only way I am going to get it done. The audio version had a new and different cover. I don’t like this cover as much because it doesn’t start telling my brain a story the moment I see it. I don’t start postulating what it is about. To me this cover has a very generic feel to it. The story inside could be one of many types of stories. And in a way The Passage is many stories. It embodies many different genre classifications. It changes in time and perspective, yet it tells one story of our country in the future.

The Passage starts with two interweaving stories, one of a little girl and one of prison inmates being shipped off to an underground lab to undergo some weird experiment. The audio version of this novel made the story both attainable and confusing to me. I resented how many details there was. But on the other hand, there is something unpredictable about an audiobook. You can’t count how many pages until the end of the chapter, or section, or book. You never know where the story will twist and turn.

The Passage dealt with a lot of interesting ideas. Many of them dystopian in nature, but when it came down to it, there was just too much going on for me. Too many story lines, perspectives, and elements. There is something to be said in the craft of a story that keeps it from being straightforward, but this sideways and circular storytelling demanded too much of me for the length of the novel. And maybe it would have been easier to follow all of this if I was reading the book in paper, but it becomes a bit of a catch-22 for me. I know that the length of this book would discourage me and I would have never have finished it. Even though it did have some quality that seemed to really push me forward through the storyline, overall it didn’t really work for me.

But it kept me curious and it continues to keep me curious. Where will the story go now? I will probably delve into the second book following The Passage at some point, especially if I am able to find the audio version at my library. But when it really comes down to it, this book just wasn’t dystopian enough for me. The Passage resides firmly in the Apocalyptic / Post-Apocalyptic classification. It didn’t really hit on the dystopian issues that really interest me, though there were various ones throughout the novel.

Have you read The Passage? What did you think of it? I have heard a lot of positive responses since I started reading the book. I think it ends up being popular or general fiction with an edge. Compared to a lot of the popular fiction out there, this book has a lot more depth, but it didn’t have depth in the areas that I wanted.

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