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Stella Maris

by Cormac McCarthy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Passenger (2)

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7212032,202 (3.88)24
Fiction. Literature. HTML: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.
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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.… (more)
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» See also 24 mentions

English (17)  Danish (1)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (20)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
This novel is written in its entirety as a dialogue between Alicia, Bobby Western's sister in The Passenger and her analyst at Stella Maris, a Wisconsin mental care facility. Since the dialogue is in some sense Mr. McCarthy discussing his deep thoughts with himself, and since Alicia is a mathematician, was a child prodigy, meets at least one definition of psychotic, may be suicidal, and has a completely photographic memory, the experience is intellectually intense. Other fine reviewers have pointed out the relationship between these characters and topics of discussion and other works by McCarthy, but this is mostly beyond me. Even so, I found this dialogue to be one of the best I have read. ( )
  markm2315 | Jun 7, 2024 |
That there is little joy in the world is not just a view of things. Every benevolence is suspect. You finally figure out that the world does not have you in mind. It never did. [...] The world has created no living thing that it does not intend to destory. ( )
  drbrand | May 14, 2024 |
An entire book without dialog tags or apostrophes of the conversation between a patient in an asylum and her resident therapist. And I finished it reading mostly in the should-be-sleeping hours and found it soporific in a good way. McCarthy uses this volume to clarify some of the first book, [b:The Passenger|60526801|The Passenger (The Passenger, #1)|Cormac McCarthy|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1647021401l/60526801._SX50_.jpg|58040703] but also makes it a encyclopedia of mathematical, philosophical, scientific allusions to (last name only) myriad individuals Gödel, Hilbert, LaGrange, Teller, Turing, etc. whom are possibly familiar but not understood. There are interesting asides on psychology and music ("Music is not a language. It has no reference to anything other than itself. Why does some particular arrangement of these notes have such a profound effect on our emotions is a mystery even beyond the hope of comprehension.") and language: "We're the only mammalian species that cant swallow and articulate at the same time. Think of a cat growling while it eats, and then try it yourself. The unconscious system of guidance (necessary to survival)--everything from a blink to a cough to a decision to run for your life-- is millions of years old, speech less than a hundred thousand. Language arose from no known need." Or, finally, the gist of it all being that the father of these two troubled offspring (Bobby and Alicia) worked in Los Alamos on the Manhattan Project." Anyone who doesnt understand that the Manhattan Project is one of the most significant events in human history hasnt been paying attention. It's up there with fire and language. Its at least number three and it may be number one. We just don't know yet. But we will." ( )
  featherbooks | May 7, 2024 |
Doesn't really seem like a novel to me, more like extra material relating to The Passenger. Maybe something like Tolkien's Silmarillion writings? Worth reading if you're into the main text. ( )
  lelandleslie | Feb 24, 2024 |
73. Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy
OPD: 2022
format: 190-page hardcover
acquired: April read: Dec 19-21 time reading: 5:26, 1.7 mpp
rating: 4
genre/style: contemporary fiction theme: McCarthy & TBR
locations: Black River Falls, WI, 1972
about the author: 1933-2023. American author born in Providence, Rhode Island, who grew up mainly in Tennessee.

Expecting to be lost in complex ideas, instead I found this thoroughly enjoyable. It's all a conversation between a genius who has given up math, and now entered herself into a psychiatric ward, and a doctor who questions her and records the conversations, with her approval. I just found it fun to spend time here. The last 20 pages were a little tough, but otherwise it goes by on a quick dialogue pace the whole way. You can follow as well as her doctor can, who isn't a genius. So, it's very accessible. It's like McCarthy's comfort zone as writer.

On a side note, I was intrigued by the doctor, whose name is Michael, leaving me with the impression of St. Michael guarding the gates of heaven, or here the gates of the psychiatric ward. He has to play a perfect role to make this book work. Not entirely professional, but seemingly so. He has to be worthy listener. It works, and Alicia's confessions flow out in ways that allow the reader to think and enjoy (while knowing from [The Passenger] the tragedy around this.)

2023
https://www.librarything.com/topic/354226#8323383 ( )
  dchaikin | Dec 21, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
De Cormac. De McCarthy. Daar is hij. Daar is hij dan weer. En De Passagier staat nog warm en rokend in mijn kast, en De Passagier laat me nog hijgend, en De Passagier leeft nog – en nu al komt hij af met Stella Maris...lees verder >
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCarthy, Cormacprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Balmelli, MauriziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Fiction. Literature. HTML: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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