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Monday, August 04, 2014

"The Lifeboat" by Charlotte Rogan



"But wouldn't you want to live anyway?" 
I asked, astonished by his vehemence. 
"Don't you want to live for yourself?" 

So asks 22-year-old Grace Winter of Mr. Preston, who sits beside her in an overcrowded lifeboat after the Princess Alexandra sinks in the Atlantic Ocean. It is 1914 and Grace finds herself, suddenly, both newlywed and widow, adrift and waiting for rescue in Charlotte Rogan's The Lifeboat.

But when the hardtack is gone and the drinking water run dry, the days wear on with neither land nor salvation in sight. A strange and mysterious separation emerges between passengers with the will to live and lead, at any price, and those made weak--or noble--by their circumstances. This  menacing rift swells and dangerously divides the passengers from "the only person among us who knew anything about boats and currents and the boiling sea." 

A tension of opposing forces builds to one of the few decisive acts that Grace will take in her young life. To preserve her chances in The Lifeboat any choice will be a terrible one, leaving many questions unanswered that no doctor's analysis or judgment day could ever resolve. 

A dark and masterful meditation on power, guilt, sacrifice and survival.