by Ben Lerner
from the April 10, 2023 issue of The New Yorker
Ben Lerner’s most recent novel, The Topeka School, was a finalist for the 2020 Pulitzer Prize. An excerpt from it was published in The New Yorker back in 2019 as “Ross Perot and China.” He does have a new book coming out in September of this year called The Lights, but it does not appear that “The Ferry” is a part of it, particularly since the new book is poetry. I think, therefore, that this story about a man getting an apologetic voicemail — though it’s the wrong number — is it’s own short story. I don’t mind excerpts as much as I used to, but I do still much prefer weeks we get a short story.
Here is how “The Ferry” begins:
Hey I understand you’re angry, the first message said. A man’s voice, probably a man my age. I would be angry, too. I know I messed up. I know it’s not the first time I messed up. I have been dealing with a lot. I know you’re dealing with a lot, too, it’s not an excuse, but I just want to tell you how I see it, and how I can make it right. And most of all I want to listen. To what you want to say and to what you need from me. To make it right. We’ve come too far. I’m sorry, call me back, O.K.?
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