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The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
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The Lifeboat (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Charlotte Rogan

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8488010,600 (3.47)76
Member:jfaltz
Title:The Lifeboat
Authors:Charlotte Rogan
Info:Little, Brown Young Readers (2012), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:****
Tags:read 2012

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The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (2012)

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» See also 76 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Short review. Was this made into a movie? It's really a wonderful read. It was a movie in my head. ( )
  mreed61 | Aug 23, 2014 |
I might give closer to 5 stars but I disliked how the story was broken up. It was very compelling and I finished it in 2 days, losing sleep to keep reading, which is of course a high compliment. ( )
  lunule | Aug 22, 2014 |
‘[...] the mind can work to suppress traumatic experiences, and I suppose that is true, but sometimes I think the failure to remember is not so much a pathological tendency as a natural consequence of necessity [...]‘

Grace Winter and her new husband Henry are traveling across the Atlantic to New York on the Empress Alexandra when a mysterious explosion sinks the ship. Grace manages to obtain a spot on a lifeboat but her husband was not and she presumes he is dead. The story begins though, with Grace no longer in the lifeboat, saved after 21 days at sea, but currently on trial for murder.

Being stranded in the middle of the Atlantic is a horrifying enough though but The Lifeboat’s extreme focus on the suffering and the change in mentality that the individuals undergo truly make you wonder if earning a spot on that lifeboat was actually a blessing. We learn the details of what occurred on the lifeboat from Grace directly, as she’s been instructed to do by her lawyer in an attempt to find someway of exonerating her. Grace is a deceptively simple woman that is actually far more manipulative than I think anyone gave her credit for. Her sense of self preservation is strong and when rehashing the sequence of events which took place on the lifeboat, she always finds a way to reinterpret her actions so as to always come out ‘right’. As you learn more of her story, you’ll begin to start questioning her actions and realize how unreliable a narrator she has been the entire time.

“…was bluish-black and rolled past us like an unending herd of whales. The lifeboat alternately rose high on their broad backs and slid down into the deep depressions between them. Above, clouds hurtled through the sky before the wind…. I shivered, and for the first time since the day of the shipwreck, I felt profoundly afraid. We were doomed.”

The traumatic situation these individuals found themselves in was only made worse as time progressed and the rapid reduction of food and water quantities only succeeded in speeding up the hysteria. Fear begins warping mentalities and speculations arise creating more danger inside the boat than the sea itself. This story of survival is fascinating and appalling, but put in a similar situation who knows what lengths you would go to in order to ensure your own survival? ( )
  bonniemarjorie | Aug 21, 2014 |
In general, I was not that moved by this novel. It may be that I have read true stories about people stranded for days, weeks, and more in lifeboats, or on anything that floats. Knowing that a story actually happened can make a disaster grip me much more than a piece of fiction that doesn’t involve me. Also, the fact that this story is from the position of a person of privilege — and I have a serious distaste for the rich and the large role they play in our fictional entertainment — is a major drawback to my attachment to the story. ( )
  jphamilton | Jul 21, 2014 |
Two years after that OTHER famous shipwreck, newly married Grace finds herself in a lifeboat with 38 other people after the ship she was on explodes. It ain't a picnic. Think 'Lord of the Flies' on a crowded lifeboat in the early 20th century. It reminded me of 'Life of Pi', which I've been meaning to reread, so reading this kind of held off the craving of reading that one a while (too many books!) 'The Lifeboat' is crammed with a ton of people rather than 'Life of Pi's one person in a boat. Both books are very psychological... but not enough for me to understand some of the motives of the characters in 'The Lifeboat'. That would be my main complaint with this well written book, but to be fair, these were people thirsty, starving and delusional in a lifeboat, maybe the point is they didn't have motives. Grace is an unreliable narrator, which makes sense in this situation as well. I'll look forward to the movie!

Something new in the back of this book is a list of the author's favorite books. I haven't seen this before, but it's like taking a peek at a writer's bookshelf. I wish other writers would make lists like this. Some good books on that list, which shows why this one is so well written. ( )
  booklove2 | Apr 23, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
Rogan writes viscerally about the desperate condition of the castaway, of what it is like to be “surrounded on four sides by walls of black water” or to be so thirsty your tongue swells to the size of “a dried and hairless mouse.” But it’s her portrait of Grace, who is by turns astute, conniving, comic and affecting, that drives the book.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, SARAH TOWERS (May 4, 2012)
 
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Epigraph
I shall sing of the flood to all people. Listen!

—The myth of Atrahasis, last lines
Dedication
For Kevin
And for Olivia, Stephanie, and Nick
With love
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Today I shocked the lawyers, and it surprised me, the effect I could have on them.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Grace Winter, twenty-two, is both a newlywed and a widow.
She is also on trial for her life.


In the summer of 1914, Grace elopes with Henry Winter in London, hoping to escape the disapproval of his wealthy family. When the elegant ocean liner carrying them home to America suffers a mysterious explosion, Henry sacrifices his own safety and secures Grace a seat in a lifeboat, which its occupants quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

Adrift on the Atlantic, the weather deteriorating and supplies dwindling, the castaways scheme and battle, caught up in a vicious power struggle between a ruthless but experienced sailor and an enigmatic matron with surprising powers of persuasion. Choosing a side will seal her fate, but Grace has made her way in the world by seizing every possible advantage. As she recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met and considers the new life of privilege she thought she'd found, Grace must now decide — will she pay any price to keep it?

The Lifeboat is a masterful debut, a story of hard choices, ambition, and endurance, narrated by a woman as complex and unforgettable as the events she describes.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316185906, Hardcover)

Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.

In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she'd found. Will she pay any price to keep it?

The Lifeboat is a page-turning novel of hard choices and survival, narrated by a woman as unforgettable and complex as the events she describes.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:22:18 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Forced into an overcrowded lifeboat after a mysterious explosion on their trans-Atlantic ocean liner, newly widowed Grace Winter battles the elements and her fellow survivors and remembers her husband, Henry, who set his own safety aside to ensure Grace's.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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