This short tale about a man's desire to live a different kind of life unfolds during a single day. At the crack of dawn the ferryman opens his eyes to find an impatient businessman nudging him with his foot. The businessman demands they cross the river. Immediately. Right this second. Not a minute to spare.
The ferryman rises and offers tea and scones. The businessman says he has no time for tea and scones. He needs to reach the other side. Progress and profits depend on it.
The ferryman understands. Before becoming a simple ferryman he had been a striver bristling with ambition, always angling to close the next deal. He had manipulated and deceived to accomplish his aims. He had believed material wealth the only true measure of success.
But he cannot just yet haul the businessman across the river. He must wait for the old woman. The old woman is sick and needs to see the doctor on the other side.
The Ferryman is an amusing and tender tale that attempts to shine a wide light on what might actually matter in life. Yes, we have our necessities: food and shelter, security and transportation. But what beyond these basics truly has relevance?
Thomas William Simpson is the author of such diverse novels as The Immortal, Full Moon Over America, The Fingerprints of Armless Mike, This Way Madness Lies, and Annie's War.
His curiosity for the human condition, as evidenced in The Ferryman, knows no bounds.