• The Passenger

  • How a Travel Writer Learned to Love Cruises & Other Lies from a Sinking Ship
  • By: Chaney Kwak
  • Narrated by: Keong Sim
  • Length: 3 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+, Biographies & Memoirs
  • 4.0 out of 5 stars (122 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

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 ship’s nearly 1,400 passengers are showered with “thoughts and prayers”. Kwak uses his 27 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 listeners on 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.

©2021 Chaney Kwak (P)2021 Blackstone Publishing

What listeners say about The Passenger

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Boring story, badly read

This story is supposed to work as a reflection on the author's life using the metaphor of an almost disasterous cruise ship outing. Author is complelely identfied as outside - not a guest, not a crew member, not an author since his trade is dying and not in a relationship since that is dying too. It is boring rather than touching. And the narration is dreadfully slow.

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An exciting yet dark account.

Having cruised many times, and in fact going on another in 2022, this is a bit of nightmare. But one thing stood out to me was the near miracles performed by the crew and rescue people. A big thanks to them from a mere reader of a near shipwreck.
Four stars on story for the more than necessary account of the writer's gay connection, in my opinion.

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Loved it

This guy a fabulous writer. His metaphors take you into the experience effortlessly. If you dare to go into it. Great Story.

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Harrowing experience

The true story was well-told. However, it was too short. There's so much more I want to know about the event Chaney Kwak lived through. The narrator did a very good job.

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Too verbose

This is written and read like a Readers Digest long winded story. Very verbose and with a whole bunch of side story thoughts that are irrelevant but gets to the word count the author wants.

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The end brings it together

Not your typical story which was refreshing The end brings it together. Pleasant voice which we all know makes the difference with audio books. Worth trying

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I love this book!!!

Beautifully written. Descriptions are vivid imagery. Current and I feel connected due to common experience of pandemic, and an always skeptical feeling about cruises. The author nails it , linking to past, present and future. Really enjoyed. I hope to listen again and will definitely recommend. Thank you for this gem, with a rough side and that shiny cut side. It is all if it: beauty and glitz, shininess of cruises. And the underbelly. It’s there just on the other side. It’s all in this writing. It’s so human. I just love it.

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Not to hate on this "almost shipwreck" but...

Geez. Total lack of personal reflection and the narration did not help matters at all. All the narration did was highlight the fact that this was unfeeling. If you see this narrator on any books that you're about to pay money for do not waste it.

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thoughtful and entertaining

a meditative and gripping story, intimate without being sentimental. vivid and dreamy, a great way to spend a long weekend.