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3.5 out of 5 stars
242
3.5 out of 5 stars
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on 20 January 2016
A well written book but not my cup of tea. Gave up after the fourth chapter.
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on 12 April 2012
If you read this book, remember to breathe. Several times my eye zipped all the way down to the end of a chapter, or jumped back over several details in the previous paragraph, before I took in oxygen again. Book Apnoea, I've decided to call it.

The premise is simple: 39 people are in a lifeboat. That's practically everything you need to know, except even the most casual reviewer should supply a bit more. It's set in the year 1914 somewhere in the Atlantic. It's told retrospectively from the point of view of Grace, who survives the ordeal and is now standing trial for a terrible crime. And from the start fatalities are not possible, but inevitable.

The genius of this novel is the way it turns the lifeboat into a community, a gossipy parish complete with factions and paranoia. Morality and pragmatism rub up against each other creating friction at first, then overlapping, then merging.

Comparisons jump out at you. It's like `Lord of the Flies' with Edwardian ladies. It's like `Touching the Void' - like `The Worst Journey in the World' - like `127 Hours' and it's true `The Lifeboat' occupies a genre space with these other works, real and imagined. It also reminded me of Agatha Christie's `And Then There Were None' which I read at the age of 13, and which has given me the creeps ever since.

But Charlotte Rogan has something else to offer too, the rare gift of articulate literary prose combined with thumping-good storytelling. After I finished this novel, I felt like standing up and applauding. More, Charlotte! More!
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on 23 May 2016
An interesting concept but fairly slow moving book
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on 8 January 2015
Takes a while to get into this book.
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on 9 May 2012
I read this book in 5 hours, loved it! Good portrayal of human nature at it's most raw, without the niceties of a civilised population. A very good story of survival, chilling.
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on 16 May 2012
I read the book in the Dutch translation, but will re-read it in the English version.
From the first page I was hooked. I knew: this was going to be MY BOOK. I love maritime
books ever since I read Mutiny on the Bounty and Last Voyage: Captain Cook's Lost Diary by Hammond Innes.
I read that it took the author 10 years to write and that it was her
debut novel. Well, bravo Charlotte!
I hope to read more of her. I will certainly look out for her!
I'm going on a Mediterranean cruise in August, but hope not to experience to have to go
into a lifeboat. But one never knows, considering what happened to the Costa Concordia.
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on 6 October 2014
Disappointing read.
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on 26 June 2014
I really enjoyed this book.

I was causious - I mean it's pretty much one setting for the entire story but wow, it had me gripped and I loved the writing.

Highly recommended.
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on 24 April 2013
Quite a gripping read - first book to be read via my kindle! Did seem to fizzle out at the end though as if it had run out of steam, other than hat the book was reasonably enjoyable.
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on 11 April 2012
I loved this book. I heard the author talking on radio 2 and knew I had to read it. I had just finished reading Jamrach's Managerie and this sounded quite similar. I'm a big fan of maritime adventures, historical novels and great story telling so this was perfect for me. The descriptions of losing hope and trying to survive amongst a vast range of different characters in unbearable conditions are written in a way that make it possible to imagine what it was like.

If you're going to or have already read this, I highly recommend Jamrach's Menagerie- however it is certainly more graphic, so be warned!!
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