The Ferryman
March 19, 2023

Book Review

The Ferryman

reviewed by Erin Clemence

Prospera is a utopian archipelago, tucked away from a deteriorating society. Created by “The Designer”, the residents live long, happy and healthy lives, until they chose to “retire”, where they are taken to a part of the island known as “The Nursery”, when the second part of their lives can begin.

Proctor Bennet is part of the Department of Social Contracts, and his job as a ferryman ensures that those making the trip to The Nursery have a successful, and uneventful, passage. Proctor, however, has his own secrets, including fading health and an increase in the amount of lucid dreams he has been experiencing- a secret because, unlike Proctor, no one on Prospera has ever experienced dreaming of any kind. As Proctor tries to keep his dreams secret in a world where everything is monitored, tensions on the mainland are high and the “support workers”, employed to keep all of Prospera running smoothly, are not showing up for work. Something big is underway and Proctor is beginning to wonder if Prospera is the utopian world he thought it was.

Justin Cronin is the author of the irrefutable best seller “The Passage”. His new novel, “The Ferryman”, is unique, spell binding and utterly thought provoking. An emotionally complex journey, Cronin’s new work will take you to the far reaches of your imagination, through his rich language and captivating scenes.

The novel is told in multiple POV’s, although the primary narrator is Proctor. The beginning of the novel starts when Proctor is given the responsibility of bringing his aging father to “The Nursery”, but Cronin jumps backwards and forwards throughout the novel, bringing Proctor’s past, and Prospera’s creation, to the surface in slow, undulating waves.

Part science fiction, part dystopian fantasy, “The Ferryman” provides an honest portrayal of humanity (at both its highest and lowest points) and the characters, although plentiful, are uniquely distinctive. Cronin has the reader questioning their own morals and belief systems, which extends far beyond when the book reaches its conclusion.

Cronin continues to keep the reader guessing; just when you are convinced that you have anticipated the ending, “The Ferryman” delivers a heart-wrenching twist, leading you down another road entirely. “The Ferryman” was non-stop action, all leading to the inevitable conclusion that will stick with you.

“The Ferryman” will immediately speak to fans and followers of Cronin’s previous novels, but it is also a standalone novel that will resonate with readers who are looking to make a connection with an engaging plot and relatable characters. This story will once again thrust Cronin into the spotlight, and “The Ferryman” will quickly rise to the top.

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