Published in June, 2007, The Canoeist (Red Lodge Press) is a gripping memoir that draws on John's 50 years canoeing the waters of North America. Each chapter unfolds on a different river and captures a unique time in the author’s life and the life of the nation.
The fire on the Cuyahoga, the anti-war demonstrations on the banks of the Potomac, the resurrection of the Pigeon River in Tennessee all serve as backdrops in this alternately exhilarating, poignant and funny journey to manhood.
The tensions depicted between father and son, the joys and burdens of being a child, parent, husband and friend, provide emotional depth that complements the exquisite writing and fast-paced action.
Author's Praise for The Canoeist
“A parable of conservation and community…a fast and absorbing ride.”
Lee Smith, author, The Last Girls
“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)
“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
“An honest take on a man’s path of self-discovery viewed through the lessons learned from a lifetime of running rivers.”
“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.”