Book Review: Travel Writing: A Story, Peter Ferry

Peter Ferry is a teacher, writer and editor. Enjoying a prolific career he has written textbooks for Rand McNally, and travel articles for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times. His short stories have appeared in StoryQuarterly, Overtures, The New Review of Literature and McSweeney’s. If that’s not enough, he also won the Illinois Arts Council Award for Short Fiction! ‘Travel Writing: A Story’ is his debut novel. 

English teacher and narrator Pete Ferry is driving home from work one evening when he sees a woman driving erratically behind him. In an attempt to keep out of her way, he allows her to overtake. As she does, Pete notices that not only is she beautiful but her clothing is in disarray. She also appears to be drunk, or in some kind of distress. Unsure of what to do, he follows her at a safe distance for a while. Should he stop her? Should he call the police? As both cars reach a set of traffic lights he realises that now is the time to do something. But he hesitates… the lights change, her car lurches forward, hits a tree and she is killed...

The circumstances of that night torment and haunt Pete. He becomes so obsessed with discovering the truth behind the events which led to the accident, and with finding out more about Lisa Kim, the beautiful young woman who died, that he neglects both his career and girlfriend Lydia. But is this story actually true? Or is it just an intricate tale that Pete tells his students to emphasise the power of storytelling?

‘Travel Writing: A Story’ explores the boundaries between fact and fiction. It is at one a love-story, but also a mystery. Told with gentle emotion, wit and suspense the result is a clever and extraordinarily original first novel.  

‘Travel Writing: A Story’ is published in hardback on 7th August 2008, priced £12.99

* Image from book cover.