kortina.nyc / notes
17 Aug 2023 | by kortina

McCarthy // The Passenger

The fantastic companion novel to Stella Maris – I preferred Stella Maris, but this was also great – and really worth reading the pair of them together.

Notes and quotes…

683 I’ll tell you what else. I think that my desire to remain totally fucking ignorant about shit that will only get me in trouble is both deep and abiding. I’m going to say that it is just damn near a religion.

5315 Clouds had moved over the sun and it grew colder. The muskrat was gone and a wind stirred the water. He got up and swiped at the seat of his trousers and went on up along the west side of the creek. When he got to the fence he took the trail up the mountain, climbing among ilex and laurel here on the north slope. A few old standing chestnut trunks dead and gray these fifty years or more. He reached the crest of the ridge in less than an hour and sat in the broken sun on a fallen log and looked out over the countryside below. He could see his grandmother’s house and the barn and the road and the adjoining small farms beyond, the pieced fields and the fencelines and woodlots. The rolling hills and ridges to the east. Somewhere beyond that the installation at Oak Ridge for enriching uranium that had led his father here from Princeton in 1943 and where he’d met the beauty queen he would marry. Western fully understood that he owed his existence to Adolf Hitler. That the forces of history which had ushered his troubled life into the tapestry were those of Auschwitz and Hiroshima, the sister events that sealed forever the fate of the West.

5493 He stood up and reached down Dirac’s Principles of Quantum Mechanics, fourth edition. He thumbed through it. The margins filled with notes, equations. Checking Dirac’s work, God help us. He closed the book and laid it aside and sat with his elbows on his knees and lowered his head into his hands.

5641 You have to believe that there is good in the world. I’m goin to say that you have to believe that the work of your hands will bring it into your life. You may be wrong, but if you dont believe that then you will not have a life. You may call it one. But it wont be one. Well. Listen at me. I just get sillier and sillier.

11310 What if the purpose of human charity wasnt to protect the weak—which seems pretty anti-Darwinian anyway—but to preserve the mad? Dont they get special treatment in most primitive societies?

12988 He wrote in his little black book by the light of the oil lamp. Mercy is the province of the person alone. There is mass hatred and there is mass grief. Mass vengeance and even mass suicide. But there is no mass forgiveness. There is only you.

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