The Passenger, by Lisa Lutz
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 1, 2016)
Rating: 8/10 – fun and quick book!
The Passenger is the perfect book for Book & Wine Wednesday because if you are like me, you will turn these pages as fast as you drink a bottle of wine. But I am getting ahead of myself, the wine recommendation will come later. Let’s first talk about The Passenger.
For readers of Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, etc., this one will enthrall you equally. For those who hated Girl on the Train because the characters were so despicable, you will like this one more. For those of you who have no idea what those books are, read on and decide for yourself if you should add this to your list.
The Passenger starts with the protagonist, Tanya, telling us she did not kill her husband. But he is, in fact, dead at the bottom of their staircase. And she did not seem to like him much when he was alive. On top of that, she packs a bag and leaves town when she discovers his body.
I do not want to give too much away, but the story follows her as she changes identities, locations, and her look. As the story unfolds people come into her life – many to help, some to hurt – and the story slowly unravels revealing her backstory and what she did (or did not do) that has altered her life so drastically.
For me, the Passenger uncovered the path of people who live on the run (something I have never done and certainly do not plan on ever doing). It explores a person living without a social security card, dependent on the cash on her, not able to make casual conversation for fear of identification, and not entirely sure where she is going to sleep each night. I will tell you this: it has made me guard my purse in public places even more than before.
The Passenger is a quick book that is creative and left me guessing until the end. It is a page turner but is not scary or nightmare-inducing. Instead, it is simply interesting. I grew to feel for Tanya, though not always agree with her decisions. She was fighting for her life. Who am I to determine what is right or wrong in that situation?
This was my first time reading Lisa Lutz’s work, but I would come back to her again. She expertly describes situations, people, and feelings in a way that I envy. It is one of the most fun books of 2016, and if you read it, I promise that you will not soon forget it.
Wine Recommendation: A hearty Zinfandel will get you through this book. I recommend a big tall glass that you will not have to refill too often while you are turning the pages. I like Zinfandels because of the complexity – and you can find excellent ones for a variety of price points.
For the crowd-pleasing under $20 bottle, I like Ancient Peaks Winery made in Paso Robles.
For those with a little extra cash to spend this month, I’m especially partial to Chase Cellars at Hayne Vineyard. I visited their site in Napa last year and had the opportunity to meet one of their 115-year-old Zin vine, named Bertha. The 2012 CHASE Hayne Vineyard Zin is fantastic, and a $45 bottle tastes like it should be much more. You’ll probably have to buy it online, I have yet to see it in a store – luckily I joined their wine club!
Don’t forget to throw the Zin in the fridge for 15 minutes before serving. It will bring out the flavors and make it all the more drinkable (as if you needed any help drinking it!).