It’s 1978, college is done and Stephen Kylemore is on track for the next phase of an ordered life: a job, a wife, hopefully a dog. But literature has a hold on him and he believes adventure must still be possible. He sees one opportunity to wander the world like the heroes in the novels he loves.
His father erupts; his girlfriend dumps him; he has no money or any real plan. But what’s an odyssey without obstacles? He packs a tent and buys a one-way ticket to London for his first trip across the ocean.
He’ll hitchhike and sleep in the woods while he looks for work and sees the sights of Europe from the cheap seats. His companions on the road will be one paperback traded for another and the ghost of a lost brother, until luck and instinct begin the dictate the itinerary and introduce colorful characters, instant friends and transient romance.
Five Ferries continues the American literary tradition of the young man leaving home to seek adventure. Melville used traditional storytelling for this tale and then Twain wrote the story the way people really spoke. Hemingway stripped away the pretense of language all together to reflect his protagonist’s post-World War I cynicism, and after World War II Kerouac phrased his hero’s search for experience and self-awareness in the beat generation language of jazz. Five Ferries updates this story by following a hero scarred by the Vietnam War and living in world of rock and roll.