“A superb...historical fiction at its best.”—San Francisco Chronicle. “It is difficult to imagine a more engrossing account of the Titanic than this one.”—New York Times Book Review “A sleek, masterful Titanic novel.”—The New Yorker
If ever a subject and a writer were perfectly matched it is here. The fated voyage of the Titanic with its heroics and horror has been dramatized many times before, but never by an artist with the skills and sensibility of Beryl Bainbridge.
On Wednesday, April 10 1912, the RMS Titanic left Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York. Four days later, half an hour before midnight, she struck an iceberg. By 2 a.m. the last lifeboat had rowed frantically away. Minutes later the great ship sank. Fifteen hundred people had lost their lives.
Every Man for Himself recaptures those four crucial days at the end of the Belle Epoque. J. Pierpont Morgan’s nephew, en route to New York, has booked passage on the world’s most luxurious ocean liner. His companions include a host of Guggenheims, Vanderbilts, and upper crust fellow travelers. It is a voyage of black-tie dining and moonlight serenades, of illicit romances and reserved travelers with shadowy pasts. The young Morgan soon finds his destiny linked to those of his shipmates, memorable personalities all, as the great ship sails toward her fate.
Bainbridge vividly recreates each scene of the voyage, from the suspicious fire in the Number 10 coal boiler, to the champagne and crystal of the first-class public rooms, to that terrible midnight chaos in the frigid North Atlantic. This remarkable, haunting tale reaffirms Bainbridge’s lofty reputation as a consummate observer of the human condition.
Beryl Bainbridge was the author of seventeen novels. The Dressmaker, The Bottle Factory Outing, An Awfully Big Adventure, Every Man For Himself and Master Georgie were all finalists for the Booker Prize, and Every Man For Himself won the Whitbread Novel of the Year Prize. The Guardian includes The Bottle Factory Outing on their list of the 100 Greatest Novels of All Time. An Awfully Big Adventure was adapted for a film starring Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman. Beryl Bainbridge died in July 2010.