to the end

Justin Cronin tells us about the long, dark road to con­clud­ing the Pas­sage tril­ogy

SFX - - Red Alert -

The City Of Mir­rors, the third book in Justin Cronin’s Pas­sage tril­ogy, is about to be re­leased, more than three years af­ter The Twelve. There are two rea­sons, says Cronin, for the long gap be­tween vol­umes. Firstly, he sim­ply wanted “to get it right”. The sec­ond rea­son, how­ever, was rather more se­ri­ous: a di­ag­no­sis of prostate cancer.

“You travel the halls of the Amer­i­can cancer-in­dus­trial com­plex,” he says. “You have to find doc­tors, you get a sec­ond opin­ion, you do this test, that test, it takes a long time to fig­ure out what you’re go­ing to do. Then you have [treat­ment], and then you feel like crap and stare into space for a while.”

He calls his di­ag­no­sis “a hor­ror show”, but Cronin re­fuses to be down­hearted. It prob­a­bly helps that his treat­ment has been suc­cess­ful, but he also drew on his ex­pe­ri­ences for a book that fol­lows some of the char­ac­ters he cre­ated for The Pas­sage into their fifties. “Throw­ing a visit from the mid-life mor­tal­ity fairy into the mix, I’m not happy it hap­pened, but it was, I guess you could say, ar­tis­ti­cally use­ful.”

It’s also served as a re­minder of just how much of Cronin’s ca­reer the books have taken up. When Cronin be­gan writ­ing the nov­els – end-of-civil­i­sa­tion-as-we-know-it vam­pire books, but smarter than that sounds – his daugh­ter Iris, who fa­mously helped him de­velop the books by chat­ting with her fa­ther as he jogged, was at school. “The lit­tle girl that helped me write the book is now a func­tion­ing, in­de­pen­dent person in the world, and she lives about 1,800 miles from here,” he says.

As for whether the Pas­sage books will ever make it to the screen, Cronin isn’t al­lowed to dis­cuss, although he does have this to say: “A lot of peo­ple have told me this would be much bet­ter as a ca­ble TV show [than movies], and I’ve never said I dis­agree with them.”

The City Of Mir­rors is pub­lished by Orion on 16 June.

Justin Cronin fed his own brush with mor­tal­ity into the fi­nal Pas­sage book.

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