Charlotte Rogan uses a deceptively simple narrative of shipwreck and survival to explore our all-too-human capacity for self-deception.

– J. M. Coetzee, author of Disgrace

The first paragraph of this fascinating novel:


The first day in the lifeboat we were mostly silent, either taking in or refusing to take in the drama playing itself out in the seething waters around us.  John Hardie, an able-bodied seaman and the only crew member on board Lifeboat 14, took immediate charge.  He assigned seats based on weight distribution, and because the lifeboat was riding low in the water, he forbade anyone to stand up or move without permission. Then he wrested a rudder from where it was stored underneath the seats, fixed it into place at the back of the boat, and commanded anyone who knew how to row a boat to take up one of four long oars, which were quickly appropriated by three of the men and a sturdy woman named Mrs. Grant. Hardie gave them orders to gain as much distance from the foundering craft as possible, saying, “Row yer bloody hearts out, unless ye want to be sucked under to yer doom!”

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