Better as a newspaper article
This book held so much promise: based on the firsthand account of an ordinary optician who ended up pulling drowning refugees from the sea, it explores the impact on the rescued and the rescuers. Unfortunately, I ended up very frustrated by it. Kirby is a journalist, and the book reflects this too much. Aside from one really gripping and moving scene at the start (when they were pulling drowning people from the sea), there was no clear story arc, the characters felt two-dimensional, and it felt like a reportage of an interview, constrained by the words said rather than freely imagined.
In other words, it read like a very long emotionally-manipulative newspaper article, but without the perspective of statistics – not quite journalism and definitely not quite a novel.
Not recommended – read her original articles, but don’t bother with this book.