Reviews for The Stranger In The Lifeboat

by Mitch Albom

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

The latest from Albom (Finding Chika, 2019) commences when the titular stranger is pulled from the ocean into a raft holding 10 passengers: the only survivors of the mysteriously destroyed Galaxy yacht, which had hosted “The Grand Idea” gathering of luminaries to create worldwide change at the behest of a billionaire. When asked, the enigmatic stranger identifies himself as the Lord but fails to provide the assistance the passengers crave. Alternating chapters follow Montserrat policeman Jarty LeFleur a year later as he investigates the recovery of a raft from the Galaxy, in which he discovers a tattered journal filled with entries by lifeboater Benji detailing the survivors’ interactions, including his dealings with a vengeful friend who may have brought a bomb onto the yacht. News reports chronicling the saga of the Grand Idea’s participants are interspersed among the chapters, adding a sense of realism to an ethereal narrative resounding with themes of loss, despair, and redemption. Albom’s many fans will welcome this return to his signature fiction, which is sure to garner new admirers, too.


Library Journal
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Adrift for three days after a shipboard explosion and running low on food and water, nine people on a raft pull a floundering man on board, with one proclaiming, "Thank the Lord we found you." "I am the Lord," responds the rescued man, launching the mega-best-selling Albom's newest excursion into spiritual questions. The story is pieced together a year later from a notebook found on an empty raft that's drifted ashore on the island of Montserrat. With a one-million-copy first printing.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

An inspirational novel about a disaster and an answered prayer by the author of The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2003). What if you call out for the Lord and he actually appears before you? Days after billionaire Jason Lambert’s luxury yacht Galaxy suddenly sinks in the North Atlantic with many illustrious passengers aboard, a few survivors float in a life raft. Among them is Benji, a deckhand who narrates the ordeal in a notebook while they desperately hope for rescue. Lambert is a caricature of a greedy capitalist pig who thinks only of himself and his lost ship and mocks Benji as “scribble boy,” but the main character is a young stranger pulled out of the water. “Well, thank the Lord we found you,” a woman tells him. “I am the Lord,” he whispers in reply. Imagine the others’ skepticism: If you’re not lying, then why won’t you save us? Why don’t you answer our prayers? I always answer people’s prayers, he replies, “but sometimes the answer is no.” Meanwhile, the ship’s disappearance is big news as searchers scour the vast ocean in vain. The lost survivors are surrounded by water and dying of thirst, “a grim reminder of how little the natural world cares for our plans.” Out of desperation, one person succumbs to temptation and drinks ocean water—always a bad mistake. Another becomes shark food. The Lord says that for him to help, everyone must accept him first, and Lambert, for one, is having none of it. The storyline and characters aren’t deep, but they’re still entertaining. A disaffected crew member might or might not have sunk the ship with limpet mines. And whether the raft’s occupants survive seems beside the point—does a higher power exist that may pluck believers like Benji safely from the sea? Or is faith a sucker’s bet? Lord knows. Unanswerable questions wrapped inside a thought-provoking yarn. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

The latest from Albom (Finding Chika, 2019) commences when the titular stranger is pulled from the ocean into a raft holding 10 passengers: the only survivors of the mysteriously destroyed Galaxy yacht, which had hosted “The Grand Idea” gathering of luminaries to create worldwide change at the behest of a billionaire. When asked, the enigmatic stranger identifies himself as the Lord but fails to provide the assistance the passengers crave. Alternating chapters follow Montserrat policeman Jarty LeFleur a year later as he investigates the recovery of a raft from the Galaxy, in which he discovers a tattered journal filled with entries by lifeboater Benji detailing the survivors’ interactions, including his dealings with a vengeful friend who may have brought a bomb onto the yacht. News reports chronicling the saga of the Grand Idea’s participants are interspersed among the chapters, adding a sense of realism to an ethereal narrative resounding with themes of loss, despair, and redemption. Albom’s many fans will welcome this return to his signature fiction, which is sure to garner new admirers, too.