“The Ferry”
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.?

Please feel welcome to leave your comments on the story below.

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