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The Lifeboat - Charlotte Rogan

The Lifeboat

By: Charlotte Rogan

Hardcover | 29 March 2012 | Edition Number 1

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I was to stand trial for my life. I was twenty-two years old. I had been married for ten weeks and a widow for six. In the summer of 1914, the Empress Alexandra, a magnificent ocean liner, suffers a mysterious explosion on its voyage from London to New York City. On board are Henry Winter, a rich banker, and his young new wife, Grace. Somehow, Henry manages to secure a place in a lifeboat for Grace. But the survivors quickly realize it is over capacity and could sink at any moment. For any to live, some must die. As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace watches and waits. She is a woman who has learned the value of patience - her journey to a life of glittering privilege has been far from straightforward. Now, she knows, it is in jeopardy, and her very survival is at stake. Over the course of three perilous weeks, the passengers on the lifeboat plot, scheme, gossip and console one another while sitting inches apart. Their deepest beliefs about goodness, humanity and God are tested to the limit as they begin to discover what they will do in order to survive. The Lifeboat is a page-turning story of moral dilemmas, and also the moving and haunting story of Grace, a woman as unforgettable and complicated as the story she recounts.
Industry Reviews
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

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, winner of the Orange Prize for Property

What a splendid book. It rivets the reader's attention, and at the same time it seethes with layered ambiguity. It's beautifully controlled and totally believable - Hilary Mantel, Man Booker Prize Winner of Wolf Hall

Characters that haunt the imagination for days . . . All kinds of social and moral questions are raised. This fabulous first novel is almost unbearably exciting - you'll gulp it down in a single sitting - The Times - Kate Saunders

Extraordinary . . . Gripping narrative . . . A magnificently layered book with echoes of Joseph Conrad, Lord of the Flies and the Ancient Mariner . . . It is that rare thing - a book that is as compelling as it

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