The Passenger

Cormac McCarthy

25 October 2022
400 pages


The top ten bestseller from the author of The Road, Cormac McCarthy's The Passenger is the story of a salvage diver, afraid of the watery deep, and pursued for a conspiracy beyond his understanding.

'A gorgeous ruin in the shape of a hardboiled noir thriller . . . It’s rich and it’s strange, mercurial and melancholic' – Guardian

1980, Mississippi: A sunken jet, nine passengers and a missing body.

It is three in the morning when Bobby Western zips the jacket of his wet suit and plunges into the darkness of the ocean. His dive light illuminates a sunken jet, nine bodies still buckled in their seats, hair floating, eyes devoid of speculation. Missing from the crash site are the pilot's flight bag, the plane's black box, and the tenth passenger. But how?

Now a collateral witness, Bobby is haunted by the ghost of his father, inventor of the bomb that melted glass and flesh in Hiroshima; and by his sister, the love and ruin of his soul.

Traversing the American South, from the bars of New Orleans to an abandoned oil rig off the Florida coast, The Passenger is a breathtaking novel of morality and science, the legacy of sin, and the madness that is human consciousness.

Look out for Stella Maris, the second book in the duology.

An appealing piece of work . . . gripping, with plenty of reflection and evocation
The Passenger is like a submerged ship itself; a gorgeous ruin in the shape of a hardboiled noir thriller . . . What a glorious sunset song . . . It’s rich and it’s strange, mercurial and melancholic
A moving and characteristically disconcerting addition to the oeuvre of one of America’s greatest writers