The Lifeboat: A Novel (Hardcover)
April 2012 Indie Next List
“Grace is the 22-year-old narrator of this terrifying, tightly told tale of the sinking of an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic from England in 1914. Few escape onto the small overcrowded lifeboats, Grace being one. With little food and drink, paranoia and power struggles surface, and The Lifeboat becomes a study of human nature and who has a stronger will to survive under extreme conditions. As Rogan writes in the end, 'It was not the sea that was cruel, it was the people.' A brilliant and harrowing story of a struggle for survival as well as a profound look at the complexities of human nature at its core.”
— Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
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.
About the Author
Charlotte Rogan studied architecture at Princeton University and worked for a large construction firm before turning to fiction. She is the author of The Lifeboat, which was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and which has been translated into twenty-six languages. After many years in Dallas and a year in Johannesburg, she now lives in Westport, Connecticut.
"Charlotte Rogan uses a deceptively simply narrative of shipwreck and survival to explore our all-too-human capacity for self-deception."—J. M. Coetzee
"The Lifeboat traps the reader in a story that is exciting at the literal level and brutally moving at the existential: I read it in one go."—Emma Donoghue, author of Room
"What a splendid book. . . . I can't imagine any reader who looks at the opening pages wanting to put the book down. . . . It's so refreshing to read a book that is ambitious and yet not tricksy, where the author seems to be in command of her material and really on top of her game. It's beautifully controlled and totally believable."—Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall
"The Lifeboat is a spellbinding and beautifully written novel, one that will keep readers turning pages late into the night. This is storytelling at its best, and I was completely absorbed from beginning to end."—Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried, In the Lake of the Woods, July, July
"The Lifeboat is a richly rewarding novel, psychologically acute and morally complex. It can and should be read on many levels, but it is first and foremost a harrowing tale of survival. And what an irresistible tale it is; terrifying, intense, and, like the ocean in which the shipwrecked characters are cast adrift, profound."—Valerie Martin, author of Property and The Confessions of Edward Day