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Publisher's Summary

From the author of The Abortionist's Daughter, a gripping new novel about a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon that changes the lives of everyone on board.

Meet Peter, 27, single, and looking for a quick hookup; Evelyn, a 50-year-old Harvard professor; and Ruth and Lloyd, river veterans in their 70s. There's Mitchell, an overeager history buff with no qualms about upstaging the guides with his knowledge. There's Jill from Salt Lake City, wanting desperately to spark some sense of adventure in her staid Mormon family. And there's 17-year-old Amy, so woefully overweight that she can barely fit into a pup tent, let alone into a life jacket. Guiding them all is JT Maroney, who loves the river with all his heart and who, having made 124 previous trips down the Colorado, thinks he has seen everything. But on their first night, a stray dog wanders into their campsite, upsetting the tentative equilibrium of this makeshift family.

Over the next 13 days, as various decisions are second-guessed and sometimes regretted, both passengers and guides find that sometimes the most daunting adventures on a Colorado River trip have nothing to do with white-water rapids, and everything to do with reconfiguring the rocky canyons of the heart.

©2009 Elisabeth Hyde; (P)2009 Random House

Critic Reviews

"An astute, engrossing, character-driven affair.... The novel succeeds as both a study of strangers striving toward a common goal and as a suspenseful drama filled with angst and humanity. Hyde outshines herself with this wild ride." (Publishers Weekly)
"Hyde applies her flair for creating fully realized characters and adds a dash of invigorating peril set in a striking landscape.... A thoughtful portrait of humanity at odds with nature." (Kirkus Reviews)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great! A Rolicking Ride.

Loved this account of multiple families on a rafting trip. Gifted writer mixes up all the personal back stories, complex family sagas, and lives of the river guides, and manages to avoid shallow soap opera.
Made me want to go on another river trip! All thumbs up!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Roy
  • Beaumont, TX, United States
  • 07-28-09

Good Summer Diversion

I generally avoid fiction, but picked up "In the Heart of the Canyon" as a change of pace this summer. Essentially, it is the story of JT Maroney who acts as a guide on a rafting trip through the Grand Canyon and how each person changes as a result of the experience.

The prose is excellent and the story will keep the casual reader's interst. The reading is just fine. It will not deepen one's understanding of the human condition, however. It is a "summer at the beach book" and better than many in that genre.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Ride the River and Feel the Heat

In the Heart of the Canyon is first and foremost an adventure. It is the story of a 13 day river rafting trip down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. This story gives you insight into the minds and personalities of every member of this trip. From the Guides, all the way to small dog that just shows up the first day of the trip; you get a real look into the lives of a bunch of strangers as they travel together down the Colorado and the bonds that are formed during the trip. There are times where the heat of the canyon radiates off the pages of this book.

The Heart of the Canyon is read by Mark Deakins and Cassandra Campbell. Mark Deakins does a great job playing most of the members of this raft trip. Cassandra Campbell does a wonderful job playing Amy; a 17 year old overweight girl who is traveling with her mom and really doesn't want to be there.

This is a great story that makes me want to take my adventure down the Grand Canyon.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Supreme boredom

This story is amateurish and banal. Not only is there no plot excitement, there is no character development. We couldn't even manage to finish the narrative even though we were on a long road trip.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lauren
  • Portsmouth, NH, USA
  • 08-27-09

Could have been a good story

This was so promising, and I think the story could have been good if I had read the book. The narrator has a very stiff, official, academic type voice, and the story is about nature and people, and it just didn't fit. When he is speaking the characters' voices, it's just not believable at all. I was very distracted by it.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Terry
  • United States
  • 06-26-11

I can’t believe I listen to the whole thing

The name of this book had a lot of promise being that I have rafted a few times before although never in the Grand Canyon. I have hiked the Canyon so again promise. The narrator was very stiff he did do a good job in changing voices for the charters. The author tried to make this a coming of age story but failed miserably.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful