Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

The Lost Book Club: The Survivors of the Chancellor

The last unread book from Season 4 of Lost was The Survivors of the Chancellor by Jules Verne. I had not previously read any of Verne’s work, and after reading this, I consider that my loss. I’ll have to investigate some of his more famous works like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Around the World in 80 Days.

Published in 1875, The Survivors of the Chancellor recounts the ordeal of a group of people who survive the burning and slow sinking of their ship, a freighter called The Chancellor. They must endure almost 2 months aboard a raft as their food and water dwindle and the remnants of the crew begin to turn against the passengers and one another. Verne’s story takes the reader through many of the classic perils of life on the sea: fire, storms, mutiny, murder, suicide, doldrums, and even to the drawing of lots to determine which of the survivors must be sacrificed and eaten.

It’s a short, brisk read, and thoroughly entertaining.

As to Lost, it appears in the Season 4 episode “Ji Yeon.” It is the book Regina is reading (upside down) moments before she goes on deck and takes her own life. Had I read it or known the book last year, I might have been able to offer predictions about the future of the freighter: that it was doomed, that few would survive, and that there would be a mutiny.

A year later, The Survivors of the Chancellor sheds no new light on Lost. Still, it was a worthwhile read, and a perfect book for Regina to read considering the hopelessness that had begun to take root on board the Lost freighter.

There haven’t been many books in Season 5 yet, but I am working on Ulysses by James Joyce, which is, so far, the only identifiable book from this season. The book Sawyer was reading in “Namaste” remains in shadow as if we are not to know the book. Or perhaps, there was a production error, and he is reading something that had not yet been published in 1978.

Check out the rest of my Lost Book Club posts.


  1. In last night’s episode we saw young Ben give Sayid a book along with his sandwich. I think I made out Carlos Castaneda’s name, but I didn’t catch the book title. Did you?

  2. The book Ben gave Sayid was A Separate Reality by Carlos Castandeda. It’s the the follow-up to The Teachings of Don Juan. I actually have it, but haven’t read it. Yet. Stay tuned. 🙂

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