Jesse Field's Reviews > The Lifeboat

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
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's review
May 26, 2012

really liked it

“Of course!” I exclaimed out loud, and others took up the cry: “God helps those who help themselves!” It was a principle I lived by, and while it sometimes might make a person who espoused it seem selfish and theologically uninformed, people who refused to live by it looked, to me, weak and parasitic. When the sun had first broken through the fog, I had been reluctant to face it, having grown accustomed to taking refuge in the night, in limited vision; and those crystal days where we could see forever, at least until the world curved and dropped off into nothingness, haunted me, because there was nothing to see.
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.
Mrs. Grant kept a constant vigil. She was dressed entirely in black. Her hair was pulled severely back, and even a week of wind and waves was not enough to loosen it from its fastenings. Her gaze did not waver in the face of nothingness. Her face burned. Then the skin peeled off and she turned a dark brown color; and still she gazed out to sea. I had the idea that if a ship appeared on the horizon after all this time, it would be because she had drawn it to her by her sheer determination and the force of her will. I could see the effect she was having on some of the others, who would make excuses to move near her or touch her shoulder as she went about her duties. I saw this and I think I understood it, but still I looked to Hardie as the foundation of my strength.
I was not alone in feeling a strange sympathy for all that lay around me: the sky, the sea, and the boat full of people, all of whom now had blood dripping down their chins and lips creased with painful fissures that cracked and bled when they chanced to smile.

I miss Henry. With him, I felt that character was less of a requirement in me, as his character was so well defined and unyielding.

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