Mitch Albom visits DC for book on new novel “Stranger in the Lifeboat”



Listen to the full conversation on our “Beyond Fame” podcast. He wrote “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People…

Listen to the full conversation on our “Beyond Fame” podcast.

OMCT’s Jason Fraley chats with Mitch Albom (part 1)

He wrote “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”.

Tuesday night author Mitch Albom visits DC for a conference on books at EDCJCC.

“Theater J is playing the play ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’,” Albom told OMCP. “It’s a beautiful piece. I’ve seen it for over 20 years now… and it still has a great effect on audiences. … I think they actually sell tickets where you get a copy [of the book] with the ticket.

In addition to “Morrie”, he will talk about his latest novel: “The Stranger in the Lifeboat”.

“There is a luxury yacht owned by one of the richest people in the world,” Albom said. “He invites all his rich famous friends and businessmen for a week-long excursion in the Atlantic off the coast of Africa. Mysteriously, the boat explodes, it is destroyed, [just about] everyone is killed and only 10 people are able to reach a liferaft.

It is then that something miraculous happens under the guise of the ordinary.

“They are in this raft for three days, no one is coming to pick them up, they are running out of food and water, there are sharks in the water,” Albom said. “Suddenly they see this body floating in the water and they pull it into the boat. He’s this very mean, indescribable guy, and one of the passengers says, “Thank you Lord, we’ve found you. He said, ‘I am the Lord.’ ”

Passengers are, of course, skeptical of man’s divine claim.

“This guy claims to be God but doesn’t look like the part, he doesn’t play the part,” Albom said. “They say, ‘What are you doing here?’ He said: ‘I came because you called me.’ … He said: ‘I can only save you if everyone in the boat believes that I am who I say I am at the same time.’ It becomes a parable of help, what we think of the help that comes to us.

The idea of ​​asking for help will hit readers during the pandemic.

“Over the past two years of the pandemic, we have asked for help in many ways,” Albom said. “I’ve learned in my life that when you think your prayers aren’t being answered or the universe isn’t answering, you wait five or ten years, look back and say to yourself, ‘Things didn’t turn out. spent as I wanted … but it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

Born in New Jersey, Albom began as a sports reporter for the Detroit Free Press. He has written two non-fiction sports books, “Bo: Life, Laughs, and the Lessons of a College Football Legend” (1989) and “Fab Five: Basketball, Trash Talk, The American Dream” (1993).

“I was a very aggressive and ambitious sports writer and sports commentator for ESPN,” Albom said. “One night I turned the remote and I came across ‘Nightline’ with Ted Koppel and saw my old college professor, whom I loved at Brandeis University… on TV talking about what it was like to die of Lou Gehrig’s disease. . “

His weekly visits with Morrie Schwartz have become the memoir “Tuesdays with Morrie”.

“I turned it into a book to pay his medical bills,” Albom said. “When he passed away I wrote this little book… having been changed by the time I spent with him every Tuesday and seeing what is really important in life. made it important, I didn’t make them important.… It really opened my eyes. “

The publisher initially printed only 20,000 copies, but word of mouth was so positive that it hit the shelves, making “Tuesdays with Morrie” the best-selling memoir of all time.

“It put me on a whole different path,” Albom said. “Everywhere I got pulled over at an airport, people didn’t want to talk about sports anymore. They wanted to talk about their mother who died of cancer and they read my book. … My state of mind has changed, my environment has changed, my goals have changed and I haven’t written a sports book since.

His next book will be a new challenge: to write his first fictional novel.

“’Tuesdays with Morrie’ has become such a runaway and totally unforeseen success,” said Albom. “It took me six years to write anything from a literary standpoint, because I was so convinced that whatever I wrote would be pale in comparison. … So I decided to go in the totally opposite direction and try a fictional novel, which I had never tried before.

The result was the hit “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”.

“I had this old uncle, a WWII veterinarian telling this story about that night he died on the operating table for a few seconds,” Albom said. “He remembered floating above the table, looking at his body and seeing his deceased loved ones waiting at the end of the bed. … I said, “What if it wasn’t your relatives, but people with whom you had contact for five seconds?” “”

Its wheels began to revolve around the people we might meet in the Hereafter.

“I started with the idea of ​​writing a book that everyone matters,” Albom said. “People think that they don’t matter or that they die without affecting the world, but everyone affects the world, even if it only affects one person. Then I completed the whole story of an amusement park and the five people in paradise you meet.

He followed with “For One More Day”, “Have a Little Faith” “The Time Keeper”, “The First Phone Call from Heaven”, “The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto” and “The Next Person You Meet in Heaven, But his more personal was In Search of Chika (2019).

“’Finding Chika’ is the story of not only how I got involved in Haiti and took over an orphanage… but also how you accidentally become a family late in life,” Albom said. “My wife and I adopted one of the children when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 5 years old. … In the end, no one was able to save her from this brain tumor… but it was two incredible years. “

Today, Albom still runs the orphanage with 53 children, while “Finding Chika” serves as the full run from “Tuesdays with Morrie,” which he will discuss Tuesday in DC.

“I always say ‘Find Chika’ is kind of a bookend at ‘Tuesday with Morrie’ because it was 25 years later,” Albom said. “In one case, I was sitting next to a dying old man who was teaching me amazing lessons about life, and in ‘Finding Chika’ I was sitting next to a dying 7 year old girl who was taught me more about life than anyone else shy of Morrie.

OMCT’s Jason Fraley chats with Mitch Albom (Part 2)

Listen to the full conversation on our “Beyond Fame” podcast.



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