Friday, January 15, 2016

Review: The Passenger by Lisa Lutz

The Passenger is the gripping narrative of a woman who goes by the name Tanya Pitts. After discovering her husband Frank at the bottom of the stairs dead, she decides to run. Automatically Lisa Lutz presents the story of a woman who has something to hide. The question that constantly eats at the reader is what is this woman running from? Why's she running?

After a few chapters, the most deafening question is who is this woman? If Tanya Pitts is simply a name on a paper, who is the woman pretending to be Tanya Pitts? The answers to these questions is the only hook to this novel sadly. Sure The Passenger is flagged with moments of suspense and pure intrigue. 

Before I get into my gripes I will acknowledge that this novel is a true page turner. I haven't genuinely been interested in the ending of a story in quite some time. Tanya Pitts, AKA Debra Maze, AKA whoever's ID was available, pulled me in and got me interested. I cared what happened to her. I wanted this woman, whoever she might be, to be just fine. Even when the glimpses into her past proved she may not be so innocent. Especially when she became a person she no longer recognized, able to commit acts she never thought possible, I cheered her along. I wanted her to find her way.

Sadly, the truth is life doesn't allow for passengers. There's no way to continue to ride on the wings of someone else's identity when the past is left so undone. That brings me to my gripes with this novel. Lisa Lutz holds my unwavering attention throughout The Passenger by dangling the grand reveal of who Tanya Pitts really is. This reveal was lackluster and left me wanting. I understand that we can never truly run from who we are, but couldn't the thing we're running from be a little more explosive? There's gotta be something strong enough to choose a life on the run. A life that consists of fear, homelessness, and constant inconsistency. 

After 70% in I realized I didn't really know the narrator. She was so focused on running and surviving that her personality never shined through. She seemed only able to follow the path that led back to the start. I am still wondering who Tanya Pitts AKA... whoever really is.

The Passenger is a worthwhile ride on the run. I enjoyed the ride although I simply needed more character development. Essentially, we're all passengers in this thing called life until we make the choice to take control and drive like hell only yielding to the occasional detour.  ***

Copy Provided by Simon & Schuster via Netgalley

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