Lou's Reviews > Passenger

Passenger by Ronald Malfi
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Jan 15, 12

bookshelves: horror, paranormal

An engrossing, visceral first person story that really hooks you in, and intrigues you with the need for an answer to, Who is He?
This story is written so well and has some really good passages incorporating the protagonists thoughts and feelings. The main protagonist finds himself in a dilemma that he cannot remember who he is and failing to recollect memories except a few snippets here and there and an address written down on his arm. It must be a harrowing experience this Amnesia state of mind, the story is in the similar vein as Before I got to Sleep and just and as much depth it creates a psychologically tense setting of tempo. Also this story made me recollect the Bourne identity movie where Matt Damon tries to piece together his identity, it all makes interesting reading. I am eager to read more from this talented writer as I enjoyed his writing prose, this story comes highly recommended as one to read easily available on ebook.
The excerpts below that I liked should provide a good taster of the story quality.
"The whole building is silent.
Then I am here: the third floor landing. I stand at the far end of the hall, taking in the doors of either side of the hallway and the single door at the opposite wall facing me. The oaken, musty smell f the aged wood and grime infiltrate my senses-not just my sense of smell, but all my senses, to the point where I can acutely see the oldness of the hallway in detail, can hear the floating of the stagnant dust through the motionless air and feel the weight f the oldness, all of it, like a force against my skin, pushing down. It is a wellspring of power, of overpower, the amplification tantamount to overdriven stereo speakers. It is my imbecilic, useless mind desperate to grasp at all my surroundings in an attempt to fill the void where my memory was once stored. An empty, voiceless void; a rip in space and time. Because if you can't fill it with memory, you will fill it with senses.
My memory....
How does someone forget who they are? How does someone wake up on a city bus as if fresh from the womb?
This waltz therapeutic- cut it out, I think. End the dance."

" The funny thing is I've been here before.
The funny thing is, it starts with the disremembered but, strangely enough, it starts with deja vu. The memory of the memory. It starts with the confidence of subconscious recollection. Time immemorial. looping, soundless footage projected straight into space. Dust motes spiralling dizzy in the spotlight"

"These bills have been passed through countless hands, stuffed into pocket after pocket after pocket, tipped to strippers and used to snort cocaine. These bills have touched the lives of countless people involved in countless activities. They are real, tangible. And feeling this only makes me aware of how alone I am. Utterly; completely."

"There's a million places you can sell junk. This city, man, it's built on junk, selling junk. The whole place revolves around junk being moved from one shitty location to another. Relocation, that the game. Its all the same no matter how you cut it- wether you be moving someone's junk from the curb to a junk shop, whether you be a taxicab moving junk-head people's from one part of the city to another, or whether you been taking junk straight from a needle and burying it right in your arm. That Baltimore, and that's what makes the city move-the transporting of junk. We built on it."

"I drive and let up on the accelerator as the road condenses to a single lane. Trees file by on either side. It is a long, straight stretch of blacktop, straight out to the horizon. Suddenly, i am in a painting by someone named Courbet. Suddenly, i am in the one memory I have managed to retain throughout all this...
Both feet slam on the brake. The truck tyres screech and the truck itself fishtails to the right, kicking up gravel like marbles, the stink of burning rubber overpowering the world. The truck bucks and convulses before quivering to a halt. A second later, as if in need of oxygen, I spill out of the cab and stagger, zombie-like, toward the centre of the street. The world is silent. The trees don't even appear to sway in the breeze. It is cold up here, damn cold, but my adrenaline is pumping like thunderous applause, my clothes drenched in sweat. Piano sonata 14 plays through the open door of the truck.
Standing in the centre of the roadway, I am just as lost as I have been all along. The needling has increased at the base of my skull, but there are no memories here, nothing to pick up and dust off.
Yet this place....
This place..."
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