Solitario: The Lonely One book cover

“Manuel has succeeded in producing another thought-provoking, thrilling, and inspiring tale of life on the river…The story is the perfect blend of adventure, interpersonal relationships, and excitement.” So reads the review by Feathered Quill of John Manuel’s latest novel, Solitario: The Lonely One (Atmosphere Press).

With the publication of Solitario: The Lonely One, John Manuel establishes his reputation as a novelist noted for creating a distinctive sense of place, strong dialogue, and memorable characters. His first novel, Hope Valley, set in the North Carolina Piedmont in the 1980s, tells the story of a retired factory worker struggling to accept his lesbian neighbors and all they represent about a fast-changing South. The Lower Canyons introduces readers to the character of Robbie Ducharme, a river guide intent on leading clients into the remote and, at times, dangerous waters of the Rio Grande of Texas. Solitario continues Ducharme’s saga, venturing into the arroyos of the Chihuahuan Desert, presenting his clients a new set of discoveries and challenges.

Prior to these novels, Manuel authored a memoir, The Canoeist, and a guidebook, The Natural Traveler Along North Carolina’s Coast. The following pages include detailed descriptions of these books and information on how to order.

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“When Durham author and environmental advocate John Manuel decided to write a book about canoeing, he had a choice to make: write something that would be sold in bait shops, or write literature. The result is The Canoeist, part nature guide, part memoir, a combination that works …”

The Independent Weekly, Durham

“This book is a rarity: an excellent memoir by a fresh, new voice.”

Lee Smith, author of Last Girls

“After just a few pages, I rediscovered the joy of a well-crafted essay. By the time I’d finished the chapter, I’d already decided I’d find room for it in the magazine.”

Ross Prather, editor Canoe & Kayak

“John Manuel’s The Lower Canyons has all the excitement of Deliverance with twice the heart.”

Kyle McCord, Magpies in the Valley of the Oleanders

“A riveting read. You will love this book, even if you don’t canoe.

Cliff Jacobson, author of Expedition Canoeing

“Manuel has a way of jolting his readers into the truth…He pulls at our wandering spirits through Robbie’s unrelenting sense of adventure and makes us want to go out and touch the desert, the canyons, the stars, the sky.”

Independent Book Review

“As the Old South turns into the New, traditional ways of life are challenged and changed. In John Manuel’s timely novel, two generations of one family come to a parting of the ways, and controversial neighbors arrive. Vivid characters enrich this archetypal story and make for a rich, rewarding read.”

Lee Smith, Dimestore, A Writer’s Life

“Gorgeously well-written.”

Wilmington Morning Star

“Manuel has succeeded in producing another thought-provoking, thrilling, and inspiring tale of life on the river…The story is the perfect blend of adventure, interpersonal relationships, and excitement.”

Feathered Quill

“A parable of conservation and community…a fast and absorbing ride.”

Lee Smith, author, The Last Girls

“An honest take on a man’s path of self-discovery viewed through the lessons learned from a lifetime of running rivers.”

Paddler Magazine

“Anyone who has ever wanted to run a river, make new discoveries, or connect the dots between past and present experience will find Solitario: The Lonely One a powerful story.”

D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“What makes The Canoeist worthy is Manuel’s ability to put us in the boat with him, spectating from the stern.”

The News & Observer (Raleigh North Carolina)

“With humor and pathos, John Manuel captures a way of life fast fading from the American scene. This is a compelling and timeless story of the necessity of adapting to change.”

Anna Jean Mayhew, The Dry Grass of August

“The changes along Hope Valley Road in John Manuel’s novel mirror the cultural changes that are testing our nation. Some of his characters bend, some break. The ones still standing in the end persevere with strength, grace, and humility that we will all need to survive.”

Jay Erskine Leutze, Stand Up That Mountain