The Passage by Justin Cronin is a book sabotaged by ineptitude. I've been an avid reader all my life. Never, in all those years, have I come across a story that falls apart because the author was sabotaged by his editor, proof reader and publisher -- until now.
The Passage is the first book of a trilogy of vampire stories, for which $1.75 million advance is being touted in the media. There was also a $3.75 million movie sale to Ridley Scott's production company. With that kind of money involved, you would think that someone would have bothered to proof read the damn thing.
First let me say that I was really enjoying the read. Justin Cronin is praised as a literary writer, whatever that is, in all the publicity for the book. Now he's supposed to be a commercial writer, and this is supposed to be THE beach read of the summer. Save your money. Beginning on page 268 of the 700 plus page tome, typographical errors cause breaks in the continuity of the story that were enough to make me throw the book across the room in disgust.
Storytelling in book form requires that the narrative flow be uninterrupted by insane distractions in the text. That's what happens in this book. Apparently sentences or whole paragraphs are dropped. Sentences are repeated. A sentence ends on one page and the next page begins at the end of another sentence (paragraph?) with the word "up?" This happened several pages in a row and I quit reading.
At first I tried to read through, but as these repeated errors occur at the outset of a new arc in the narrative, it became too damn distracting. No wonder there are all sorts of horror stories about the state of American publishing. Is anybody doing their jobs anymore? Somebody certainly screwed the pooch on this one. This is a book, not a blog!
I have no idea how something like this is fixed. Do they recall all the books from the bookstores and reprint it? What a waste that would/will be -- resources, money, ecology.
George Stephanopoulos touted it on his morning show. Obviously, he did not read it. Stephen King called in to praise it during the broadcast. He must have read the galleys. (In any case, this book is not "The Stand". It seemed to be going more like "The Postman" when it fell apart due to the errors -- though I have no idea where it actually goes, story-wise,)
I feel bad for Justin Cronin -- unless he didn't proof his own galleys. I feel worse for anyone who plunks down $27 for this book.
Too bad. I was really getting into it.