Passage Passage by Connie Willis

Things you can count on from Connie Willis: a brisk, almost frantic pace, even in a chunker of a book; characters driven by an idea or a goal or a desperate need to stay alive; other characters that you love to hate, characters that keep popping up an foiling the protagonist. I’m sure there’s more, but Passage was memorable for all of those things. The idea/goal? Researching near-death experiences. The character you love to hate? So many to choose from – the arch-nemesis researcher, the overly talkative patients, the untalkative patients. And that frantic pace! I don’t want to spoil events in the story, but there’s tension aplenty.

Can there be too much of a good thing? Sure, sometimes that pace is a bit much. You want the characters to sit down, eat a good meal, catch up on their transcribing, and enjoy some peace and quiet. Sometimes you wonder if the whole thing could’ve happened in fewer pages. But this isn’t tight, literary prose. This is fun. This is a distraction. It’s not Willis’ best – I’d recommend you start with Doomsday Book for something more serious, or To Say Nothing of the Dog for something comic. But I can’t think of any other books quite like hers, and this one hit the spot for something fun and engrossing and occasionally edge-of-your-seat.

Source: bought it at Powell’s, thanks to a Christmas gift card.

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