Rated 3.5 of 5 stars
Lisa Lutz’ novel, The Passenger, is a cross country ride through dive bars, strange strangers along with a woman who sheds her identity like seasonal fashion trends. There are so many names in this story that can align with the main character Tanya/Jo/Paige/Nora/Debra and the list goes on depending on whose purse she can pickpocket without being caught. She’s running from her past which isn’t readily given away in the beginning and then soon after, she’s running from the death of her husband. Once she’s set off on a path of finding a new identity, she buries herself deeper into each identity that she steals. She meets Blue, a barkeep with attitude and shady history of her own and things change very quickly. At the end of the story, you realize completely why she was running and frankly, its not satisfying enough to be worth the wait.
In lieu of that, there’s an added twist at the end which makes things a bit icky. But it definitely makes up for the less than riveting main ending. Not completely, but enough. I’ve rated the story a solid 3.5 stars because the characters along the way seem to have more personality than the main character. I felt lost when Blue exited the story for a long period of time. That’s when the story really lagged. Blue brought life, danger, mystery and depth to the story while the main character just…ran. I sort of wished this story followed Blue, honestly.
I found lots of redundancy with bars, whiskey, and plaid shirts. I enjoyed all the little pit-stops along the way for the main character and then her eventual return was a bit lackluster. So overall, the story was decent enough to finish but the ending wasn’t groundbreaking enough to quantify my time for 300 pages. I liked Lutz’ style of writing although the analogies were sometimes overkill. She writes well and can tell a story with a twist. I thoroughly enjoyed the email excerpts throughout the story which linked the main character to her past yet never really gave anything away. This story is recommended for readers who like stories of vanishing women and what happens while they’re gone.
Raging Book Reviews
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