Tag: Rogan

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Posted March 4, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

The Lifeboat by Charlotte RoganTitle: The Lifeboat (Goodreads)
Author: Charlotte Rogan
Published: Reagan Arthur Books, 2012
Pages: 278
Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

In the summer of 1914 the Empress Alexandra sinks; this elegant ocean liner suffers from a mysterious explosion and all the passengers scramble for safety. Henry Winters managers to secure a place on a lifeboat for his new bride Grace but when the people on the lifeboat soon realise they are over capacity the real struggle for survival begins.

The Lifeboat is an elegant and thrilling novel with many complex issues weaved into it. For any to live, some must die but the hard choice of survival can be taken too far. At what point does the struggle for survival turn into manslaughter and can you really live with your actions. With personality clashes between characters like John Hardie and Mrs Grant, this book is just a stimulating and thought provoking read.

My first thought with this book was that this was just playing out a novel based on ecologist Garrett Hardin’s metaphor for resource distribution. Hardin’s metaphor describes a lifeboat bearing 50 people, with room for ten more. The lifeboat is in an ocean surrounded by a hundred swimmers. The “ethics” of the situation stem from the dilemma of whether swimmers should be taken aboard the lifeboat. But when I read this book there was more of a focus on the moral dilemma, in regards to an overcrowded lifeboat.

This book is a highly emotional novel and while you do get some character development, this mainly focuses on Grace and her take on the situation at hand. I must admit to hating Mrs Grant throughout the entire book; she was bossy and always plotting against the others. While John Hardie seems to always try to do what was best for the people in the lifeboat and he seemed strong and determined; it was interesting to see how the pressure got to him.

Another aspect this book dealt with was the one of social class; the sinking of the Empress Alexandra brought people from all different social backgrounds onto the lifeboat. So it is interesting when they need to throw people off the lifeboat for survival how important class is to the people wanting to survive; as if that would be have importance at a time like this. I think Charlotte Rogan did a great job setting the novel in 1914; you have the sinking of the Titanic not too long before in 1912 and the time and age is perfect to look at the issue of social class as well as morals.

The Lifeboat is a stunning debut novel from Charlotte Rogan; while it could use a bit more development with some of the characters, this booked worked well with exploring the issues it set out to explore. I think Rogan has a worthy example of well crafted contemporary fiction, with the dilemmas the characters face and the pace the novel keeps. I really am impressed with the way this novel turned out and I hope Charlotte Rogan has an equally impressive sophomore novel.


Monthly Review – December 2012

Posted December 31, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

Now that 2012 has come to close, I find myself not reflecting on my year of reading but eagerly anticipating the books I get to read next year. All my reflections of 2012 seemed to have taken place in November. So now I want the Literary Exploration reading challenge to begin.

But as this is the end of December, let me quickly cover the important events of this month. Literary Exploration decided to read a travel/road trip book for the month; the book picked was the beat novel On the Road. This book had a lot of mixed reactions; even people thinking their own travel diaries would be more interesting. I’m now very concerned about what has happened when my wife goes travelling  For me I thought it was an enjoyable look at the beat generation and their ideals. Check out the conversations on Goodreads to find out what people said about this book.

A reminder that in January we will be reading Shadow of the Wind; I love this book and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the discussions will be like. I still haven’t decided if I want to reread it yet or wait till the series has finished before rereading it in its entirety. Either way, I look forward to hearing people’s thoughts.

As for my personal reading, I focused on reading non-fiction this month; well I started off that way but I got distracted. I’ve read some great books this month including; By the Book, a Readers Guide to Life which was a fascinating look at the author’s reading journey. Also I tried some dirty realism with Factotum by Charles Bukowski, a raw and gritty semi autobiographical novel which I highly recommend. What were your highlights of this month? Did you read anything great?

Monthly Reading

  • By the Book, A Reader’s Guide to Life by Ramona Koval
  • Day of the Oprichnik by Vladimir Sorokin
  • Factotum by Charles Bukowski
  • Joseph Anton by Salman Rushdie
  • Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  • The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz
  • The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • Through the Window by Julian Barnes
  • What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami