Park by the River



Separated from far-flung family and friends by lockdown, an old man passes the hours of a global crisis in splendid isolation, with only his own thoughts, fears, fantasies and memories for company.

Endlessly pacing from the park at the end of his road to a near-abandoned city centre and back, our latter-day Robinson Crusoe travels round and round the houses only to descend deeper within himself, along a well-trodden path leading either to self-knowledge and understanding or madness. Or more likely both at once.

As the cold spectre of Winter confinement looms a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger seems to offer a precious opportunity for meaningful human contact – but is our urban castaway’s new acquaintance all they seem?

Are they even a stranger?

Barney Farmer’s third novel is a melancholic comedy of modern loneliness and historic loss, of one man’s tussle with the void while a whole world slides down the pan.