The Ferryman by Justin Cronin is a post apocalyptic utopian/dystopian science fiction novel. I haven’t read anything from the author since The Twelve was published after the highly successful The Passage. Needless to say, I didn’t really care what The Ferryman was really about. I knew I had to read it. Set in a futuristic world, the island of Prospera and its citizens seem to have it all. Best part of all? During a certain point towards the end of their life, they get to simply board a ferry to the nursery and get reiterated. Newly born without memories, they get to start from a fresh clean slate and enjoy a new life without any burdens from the past. The whole apocalypse and how the outside world is destroying itself is cliché enough without any explanations required, but could this talented author pull out something in the end that will surprise even some of the more hardcore science fiction fans?
It is impossible, of course, to completely know another person; we are, in the end, prisoners of our own minds. - Proctor Bennett
It’s very early on that we are reminded how even in such a utopian type setting that there must be a balance somewhere. For every Prosperan living the good life, there must be an equal amount of the average Joe to keep things running. It is here that once again, the concept of the have’s and the have not’s, the fortunate and the unfortunate to say the least, is as old as time. We are reminded that class warfare exists regardless of how far in the future we get, as well as the location and setting.
And what is a dream if not a story we must tell ourselves? - Proctor Bennett
The big reveal towards the end in my opinion was very well done. I don’t think it would have actually come as a surprise in regard to everyone’s life in Prospera. However, it was written extremely well and put together in a way that made such a complex topic and theme become that much easier to read and understand. The motivations behind the main characters were revealed and done in a way that really makes you think whether to all them heroes or not due to the tough choices that had to be made. The only downside is how I’d wish more time was spent on the second act of the story. Although I don’t have a problem with Proctor in general, some parts were a bit sluggish to get through. You knew something big and momentum shifting was just around the corner yet the author teases you more and some of those parts I didn’t care for.
To believe in a god when there is no God. - Proctor Bennett
The ending itself was picture-perfect. The Ferryman is one of those books that forces you to think and contemplate long after it has been completed not because the author was trying to be mysterious or left things open-ended for debate and discussion, but because it really makes you imagine how things would have been like. Although the novel completes without any cliffhanger and should satisfy pretty much all readers, maybe a sequel or prequel can be done in the future should the author decide to revisit this world? I think either would make an interesting read.