“I wondered if all a person could hope for was illusion and luck, for I was forced to conclude that the world was fundamentally and appallingly dangerous. It is a lesson I will never forget.
"The Lifeboat" by Charlotte Rogan is a book about basic human nature, and the things we are willing to sacrifice in order to stay alive. The contrast between nature and culture, civilization and isolation is central to this novel. Rogan explores the social structures and power struggles that can arise in an isolated environment where the main rule is 'survival of the fittest'. In fact, this story takes us back to the raw, brutal and simplistic primal forces that lies within us all.
While this most certainly is an interesting topic, it has been written many times before with much more insight and depth. I would rather pick Golding's "Lord of the Flies" up again than read this. Rogan adds nothing new to her subject, she uses an absurd amount of pages on something we've all heard before, and she comes to no conclusion at all. A book with such a strong topic ought to make an impact on you. But this really didn't at all.
The book has no building suspense, no unpredictability and it keeps repeating the same pattern over and over and over again. Mr. Hardie's brutal strength is dwelled upon several times, his personality is constantly contrasted with Mrs. Grant's moral compass, and the eventual power struggle between those two characters is inevitable.
Whenever a character died or was murdered, I felt nothing at all. Rogan's characters leaves no impression on the reader, they are faceless inventions and they can't really be separated from each other. The result is a mere 'oh well' every time something dramatic concurs.
For a while I thought the book would take an uexpected turn in the style of Martel's "Life of Pi", but it never did. It ended as weak and timidly as it began, and that was it. No symbolic complexity, no profound conclusion. Just an ending with a sure guarantee of everlasting oblivion.