The Ferryman

Ballantine May 2023. 560p. ISBN 9780525619475. $30. SF
Prospera is an idyllic archipelago state, hidden away and isolated from the outside world, a land of sunny skies, ocean breezes, and happiness that is measured by a number. After a long, fulfilling life, Prosperans are ferried off to the Nursery, an island where their memories are wiped and their bodies restored so that they start over with a clean slate. Proctor Bennett is a ferryman, but when he’s called to ferry his father, his last, distraught words to him are that their world is not the world. Proctor’s entire reality is shaken, and the utopia he thinks he lives in takes on a disturbing edge as it devolves into chaos and lunacy. Proctor grapples with an untethered existence, where reality has an ethereal quality that evokes a desperate need for the truth. The result is a page-turner that is impossible to put down. A profoundly genius culmination of every twisty event and unveiled secret caps off this mind-bending masterpiece.
VERDICT The velvety prose, the creepy heart-clenching suspense, and the meaning and emotion layered into every word all give rise to an incredibly thought-provoking sci-fi thriller from Cronin (The City of Mirrors).
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