Sixteen years after he devastated absolutely everyone with The Road, Cormac McCarthy is publishing two linked novels this fall: The Passenger on October 25 and Stella Maris on November 22. (Or you can wait until December 6 to get your boxed set.)
Together, the novels tell the story of Bobby and Alicia Western, siblings and the children of one of the inventors of the atom bomb. The Passenger focuses on Bobby, “a salvage diver, haunted by loss, afraid of the watery deep, pursued for a conspiracy beyond his understanding, and longing for a death he cannot reconcile with God.” While diving at the site of a plane crash, Bobby discovers that one of the passengers, as well as the plane’s black box and the pilot’s flightbag, are missing.
Bobby becomes entangled in the mystery, while “shadowed in body and spirit—by men with badges; by the ghost of his father; and by his sister, the love and ruin of his soul.”
The sister, Alicia, is the protagonist of Stella Maris (and McCarthy’s first female protagonist). It’s told in a series of transcripts of conversations between Alicia and the psychiatrist at a facility where she is being treated for paranoid schizophrenia.
According to New York Times reporting, McCarthy delivered a full draft of Stella Maris and a partial draft of The Passenger to his editors at Knopf—who are extremely good at keeping secrets—eight years ago.