Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

This is a simply stunning book, powerful, profound and raw writing talent.

Taking a simple plot device of survival under the harshest of conditions and lashing in little rum,but plenty of salt and seascapes and a cracking look at choices and consequences...

Grace is newly married to her Mr Right, we learn of their back stories and then they are thrown apart in the maelstrom of the sinking of their ship to their prospective new future of happiness.

Several lifeboats are launched and a random association of society is pitched in, 'helmed' by sea dog Mr Hardie a stubborn but sensible soul with a determination like none other.

At first they seem to be only a wave away from being rescued and hopefully reunited with their loved ones, surely equally safe on the other bobbing vessels.

However, as the waves wash over them and they begin to feel the wrath of the sea as their supplies diminish with their hope, we start to get a gripping tale of double crossing and death, either voluntary, by proxy or by push...

It is told in an almost clinical way at times, I think the lack of warmth of some of the characters is excellent as they must have been literally chilled to the core and we sort of don't want to get to know anyone too much as well they may soon be fish food.

Charlotte blends in many threads as we bob along forlornly, hoping and dreaming of salvation, making alliances and decisions, eating raw fish, sipping water through bloodied and cracked lips.

As we perceive the end result of actions taken as we are lead through the subsequent court case..murder most foul at sea..well the pace and inevitability keep lapping away.

Some of the central characters are slow burns and the power of persuasion and ability to survive is subtlety
written. The impact of numbers, weight, water and fatality are constants.

This isn't the easiest book to pigeon hole and I think that is what makes it so good, we often compare them to others and maybe one that stands alone is truly the one to read.

I give this book 9/10 and hope if you are a book club you will get to read and discuss it.

I will load up the cover later, 'tis late and I have to read more books before doing BBC Radio Merseyside  

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