The best-selling author of ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’, MITCH ALBOM, talks about his latest work of fiction, THE STRANGER IN THE LIFEBOAT (Harper, November 2021). He also discusses his writing process and how it helped his grief when his daughter, Chika, passed away from an incurable disease at seven.
What would happen if we called on God for help and God actually appeared?
THE STRANGER IN THE LIFEBOAT reads like a mystery and a parable in one. It’s about ten rich people who survive a ship explosion. They have been in a small lifeboat for three days and are running out of food and water when they spot a stranger floating in the ocean. When they pull him on board, the stranger says he is the Lord and that he came to help them – on one condition – that they all believe in him.
It’s a remarkably atmospheric and feeling book.
It’s also been written from three different points of view. First, a notebook owned by one of the survivors, Benji, is written in the first person. Then, when the story shifts to the land element, the story continues in the third person, and then there’s a kind of script for voices from the media in the news section.
The ultimate question raised in this book – see page 241 – is why a supposedly benevolent God would take away someone we love? Why does he allow people to die? Mitch Albom suggests we ask another question; why does God give them to us in the first place? The memories we have with that person are a gift and being taken away is not a punishment even though it may feel like it. Instead, perhaps it’s better to see the time we had with them as a blessing.
His books, in general, deal with life, death, hope, and faith. He is inspired to write about emotional lessons in life, and after that, he searches for a plot and a story. In THE STRANGER IN THE LIFEBOAT, it was ‘Help.’
Mitch was 37 years old when everything changed in his life. It was an accident (fate?) that he went into journalism from being a musician and an accident that he became a sportswriter.
Then he came across Morrie Schwartz, his favorite college professor back at Brandeis University in Boston, being interviewed by Ted Koppel on TV. He was ‘living his best life’ even though he was dying from ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Mitch sought him out.
After about the fourth time meeting up with Morrie, he decided to write a memoir about his ideas and attitude towards life to help with the medical expenses. A short time before Morrie passed away, Mitch finally found a publisher.
This was TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, generally regarded as the best memoir of all time.
Mitch is an exceptional storyteller but also incredibly modest and generous. He runs nine charities in Detroit and one in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, where he travels once a month. He wrote THE STRANGER IN THE LIFEBOAT in Haiti, and the kids at the orphanage were his first readers.
In a forthcoming 12-minute interview with AUTHORLINK, Mitch shares his thoughts, ideas, and the inspirations behind his story-telling craft. We hope you enjoy it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mitch Albom is the author of numerous books of fiction and nonfiction, which have collectively sold more than forty million copies in forty-seven languages worldwide.
He has written seven number-one New York Times bestsellers – including TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE, the bestselling memoir of all time, which topped the list for four straight years – award-winning TV films, stage plays, screenplays, a nationally syndicated newspaper column, and a musical.
Through his work at the Detroit Free Press, he was inducted into both the National Sports Media Association and Michigan Sports halls of fame and is the recipient of the 2010 Red Smith Award for lifetime achievement.
After bestselling memoir FINDING CHIKA and “Human Touch,” the weekly serial written and published online in real-time to raise funds for pandemic relief, his latest work is a return to fiction with THE STRANGER IN THE LIFEBOAT (Harper, November 2021).
He founded SAY Detroit, a consortium of nine charitable operations in his hometown, including a nonprofit dessert shop and food product line to fund programs for Detroit’s most underserved citizens.
He also operates an orphanage in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, which he visits monthly.
He lives with his wife, Janine, in Michigan.
Buy this Book: Amazon