Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The Lifeboat

(photo from charlotterogan.com

I've just finished reading The Lifeboat, by Charlotte Rogan, and here I am, recommending it to you. Set in 1914, it follows the experiences of Grace Winter, a survivor of a sunken cruise ship, crammed onto a lifeboat that is dangerously over-capacity with dozens of other men and women. It's fascinating to see the power struggles, the rumours, storytelling and feuds that start and spread through the cramped boat as it floats for three weeks in the middle of the Atlantic. As it becomes clear that the only way for the boat to survive in the merciless ocean is by lightening its load, it leads you to question your own morals - who would you choose to go overboard? Would you sacrifice yourself for 30 others? Would you kill somebody?

My sister, who, in turn, recommended it to me described it as 'a combination of The Life of Pi and Alias Grace', an apt description indeed. The cramped boat is a wonderful stage for the action, and the narrator is deliciously unreliable!

E xxx

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