“Beautifully written and astutely observed. This is a marvelous book.”
“For fans of The Perfect Storm, In the Heart of the Sea, and Bill Bryson on his sassiest days.”
—Afar Travel Magazine and Guide
Aboard a sinking cruise ship, a journalist faces death and reconsiders life. “If you’re looking for a great read, look no further than The Passenger.”—San Francisco Examiner
In March 2019, the Viking Sky cruise ship was struck by a bomb cyclone in the North Atlantic. Rocked by 50-foot swells and 40-knot gales, the ship lost power and began to drift straight toward the notoriously dangerous Hustadvika coast in Norway. This is the suspenseful, harrowing, funny, touching story by one passenger who contemplated death aboard that ship.
Chaney Kwak is a travel writer used to all sorts of mishaps on the road, but this is a first even for him: trapped on the battered cruise ship, he stuffs his passport into his underwear just in case his body has to be identified. As the massive cruise ship sways in surging waves, Kwak holds on and watches news of the impending disaster unfold on Twitter, where the cruise ship’s nearly 1,400 passengers are showered with “thoughts and prayers.” Kwak uses his twenty-seven hours aboard the teetering ship to examine his family history, maritime tragedies, and the failing relationship back on shore with a man he’s loved for nearly two decades: the Viking Sky, he realizes, may not be the only sinking ship he needs to escape.
The Passenger takes readers for an unforgettable journey from the Norwegian coast to the South China Sea, from post-WWII Korea to pandemic-struck San Francisco. Kwak weaves his personal experience into events spanning decades and continents to explore the serendipity and the relationships that move us—perfect for readers who love to discover world travel through the eyes of a perceptive and witty observer.