The Survivors – Alex Schulman

Published By: Little Brown
Pages: 240
Released On: 07/10/2021

In the wake of their mother’s death, three estranged brothers return to the lakeside cottage where, over two decades before, an unspeakable accident forever altered their family. There is Nils, the oldest, who couldn’t escape his suffocating home soon enough, and Pierre, the youngest, easily bullied and quick to lash out. And then there is Benjamin, always the family’s nerve centre, perpetually on the look-out for triggers and trap doors in a volatile home where the children were left to fend for themselves, competing for their father’s favour and their mother’s elusive love.

But as the years have unfolded, Benjamin has grown increasingly untethered from reality, frozen in place while life carries on around him. And between the brothers, a dangerous current now vibrates. What really happened that summer day when everything was blown to pieces?


Thanks to Little Brown for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

This was such an interesting premise, and I just agree with other reviewers that there is definitely a sense of Ian McEwan about the writing.

I did find it a little confusing at times, the way the story flits between different parts, time periods, ages, and main narratives, which meant it was a longer read than I initially expected. It is very well written and, whilst I don’t mind depressing books, this is a hard book to read with some troubling topics. You will need to have your full wits about you with this one.

The relationship between these three brothers may be over the top and troubled, but there’s most certainly a side to them anyone with a sibling can relate to – very much a love/hate relationship.

The description is perfect and you can almost put yourself in the situation. You can feel the water of the lake lapping over your toes, feel the darkness of the forest encase you, and fear the drunken fights in the room next to you. You are able to imagine yourself as every character. 

Renowned author Fredrik Backman states: “You’ll cry for these brothers: for the men they become, for the boys they were, for the innocence they lost.” And I think that encompasses the book – it’s simply heartbreaking.

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