Book review | The Ferryman by Shreya Ganguly


Author: Shreya Ganguly

No. of pages: 250

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published by: Notion Press

Published on: 8th September 2021

Format: Paperback

My rating: ★★★★★

Every myth is a tale half-told...

When the darkest of vice meets red-stained ice, we hear it all unfold!

It is 2035 CE (covid era). Este, a disgraced and broken ex-intelligence officer, finds herself in the middle of a small isolated island community, frozen and barren- on the edge of the world, with the 'virus' at the core of its existing divisions. She has come here searching for a second chance, a chance to redeem herself from the demons of an unforgiving yet forgotten past. In doing that, as she tries hard to blend into this near-about dystopian world, she realises that subtle is scarce; ominous rituals, 'handsome' dead bodies, the flaring 'mythical' and a sinister Belief surround her, shadowing the darkness that is growing within her. Sleuthing skills, a favouring instinct and an overbearing empathy act as her only shield, as she navigates between the intrigues of this remote coastline and that of her mind, much desperate to untangle the meaning of her long-quested salvation.

She is also confident. Perhaps a little too much. She thinks she has all the reins- of both probe and patriarchy. But nothing is as it seems. Not even her. She is much more than who she is... much more than she will ever know!

Hence, when the land dangles a mirror in front of her, it is she who must choose.

The End.

Of her and of this story.

After covid hit the world, the world and the inhabitants have changed. In the year 2025, Este is transferred to an isolated and quaint island near the North Pole after suffering from a personal loss. The otherwise quiet island is stirred up when a dead body of a young boy turns up on the shore. The body is beautified, as if its an offering to the Gods. As more beautified bodies turn up, Este knows that there is something eerie and ancient is at play. 

Este, now demoted from the intelligence officer position, has to work her way through her PTSD, a team of obnoxious seniors, and the social divide that threatens to disrupt the island and its inhabitants. 

The Ferryman man is a brilliantly written and executed psychological thriller that will have you on a choke-hold. The author has deftly addressed so many political and social issues through this book, while maintaining an intriguing plot that is topped with Greek history and cult culture. There are so many things that goes on in the book altogether— Este's dark, traumatic and inglorious past; a sexist work culture that shows how some men will even go extreme extents to boost their own ego; and a bigoted society. 

The world-building is brilliant. The book depicts a dystopian society that's less than 15 years into the future. To base the whole premise on a world divided due to the virus, where refugees had fled to the Island, are now called "Settlers" and are discriminated to the extent where its considered normal— its just brilliant. It will almost make you fear the near future.

The author has laid down a fearsome foundation to this book— a story that brings out Greek stories and ideas and twists them to fit into a cult. I also didn't see the twist coming. It feels so easy to find the culprit, but the revelations that come after that will awe you.

The characters are so well-built. You will find yourself hating some, while loving some. While some parts will render you confused because they are open-ended, gradually everything falls into place in the last couple of chapters. I completed this book in three sittings. If you are looking for an psychological thriller that will excite you, then this is the book. 

This book is not an easy read. At places it gets too descriptive, so you need to have the right mindset to read this book. The narrative sways from the past and the future sometimes but it won't confuse you. Most of the book is written from Este's perspective, but at times it goes into 3rd person narration, so it might be a bit difficult to follow. I won't say that it has simple writing, rather, it does get complex at times, but the story is definitely going to keep you hooked! 

Shreya is a curious one. She likes to be introduced so. It has led her to explore different forms of writing and places that are just tiny dots on the globe. Having found her inspiration in the barrenness of the Arctic, she has a strong affinity for delving into genres of gore and crime while blending its delivery with the gorgeously unforgiving panorama of the High North. That, she feels, is a true fulfilment of her curiosity; bringing that world to this; connecting that corner to this.

Hence, whenever she travels, it is to find another untold setting, a fitting landscape for her story—misty, miserable and much marooned. That is how she plots her next show.

Shreya’s message to her readers is simple. It is to keep toggling with the unknown, be it lands or perspectives as she believes that inspiration feeds heavily on serendipity. One might see it growing in the most unexpected places. Be it the usual or the most extraordinary.

She can be found sharing excerpts from her life at:

Instagram: @authorcalledshreya

I received a copy of the book in exchange of an honest and unbiased review.


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