THE FERRYMAN'S GIFT
“When someone dies, we can finally gauge who they were. My father is more like a character from a novel than some real life person: I’ve never met anyone so ill-equipped for a life as a member of society. But I’ve decided to write this portrait of him rather than a family memoir because the interesting thing is that, by being so very unusual, he really did exist. His very individuality lends him a universal dimension.
What we inherit from our parents, and this is far more difficult to shake off than their ideas, is their affects, those powerful living and evolving emotions that they transmit and we receive quite unwittingly and irrevocably. Since he died, I have often thought of myself as my father’s right hand armed with a pen.
In this book I have tried to capture what has been passed on to me, my inheritance of affect-ideas which I, in turn, am striving to pass on through my writing.”
The Ferryman’s Gift is a unique book with great complexity beneath its apparent simplicity. It is neither essay nor memoir, but a wonderful portrait of a father who is no longer with us.
Belinda Cannone is a novelist and essayist. She has published six novels and several essays, including L’Écriture du désir (Winner of the 2001 Académie française prize for an essay) and Le Sentiment d’imposture (winner of the 2005 Grand Prix for an essay from the Société des Gens de Lettres). Her last book, La Chair du temps, was published by Stock in 2012.