Survival tale is not my favorite literary genre, and this book doesn't even make a good survival tale. Perhaps it's the intention, ambition of the author not to turn this into a typical man versus nature story, as scenes of courtroom interrogation, psychotherapy of the heroine and her introspection after the rescue are heavily featured in the book. But those parts ultimately only served to take even more readability away from it.
Starting off on a rather promising note, we know the female protagonist has survived the ship wreck but is standing trial for some ugly feat and return through her diary entries to the days she spent at sea with a group of others. The bulk of the book then depicts the imaginable plight the passengers of the lifeboat find themselves in. It's grim, it's bleak, it's in some places nauseating, but nothing in the plot design or writing comes away particularly surprising or truly harrowing. People are forced to do unspeakable things to stay alive, some don't make it and perish, some are more or less forced to end their lives... There are a handful of conjunctions where moral dilemmas are posed, but these are not handled in a way that renders the predicament of those involved or the severity of the situation identifiable. That the author has failed to reach her reader is most clearly demonstrated when, at the most decisive turning point late in the story, where the conflict in the boat has boiled to a point of no return and a life-and-death decision must be made, we just don't care.
The most fatal blow to the book, however, is the truly messy last part, where utterly unconvincing criminal charges are filed and weirdly earnest depictions of testimonies and group dynamics are staged, all failing to deliver a coherent message or establishing solid character profiles....Continua