Love Is a Canoe by Ben Schrank
A Novel

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...ambivalence serves to humanize “Love Is a Canoe.” But it also allows Mr. Schrank’s story to drag its heels. We are halfway through this narrative before Eli and Emily...meet Peter...it’s the only part of this novel that packs much of a punch.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Peter Herman is something of a folk hero. Marriage Is a Canoe, his legendary, decades-old book on love and relationships, has won the hearts of hopeful romantics and desperate cynics alike. He and his beloved wife lived a relatively peaceful life in upstate New York. But now it's 2010, and Peter's wife has just died. Completely lost, he passes the time with a woman he admires but doesn't love-and he begins to look back through the pages of his book and question hom­ilies such as:

A good marriage is a canoe-it needs care and isn't meant to hold too much-no more than two adults and a few kids.

It's advice he has famously doled out for decades. But what is it worth?

Then Peter receives a call from Stella Petrovic, an ambitious young editor who wants to celebrate the fif­tieth anniversary of Marriage Is a Canoe with a contest for struggling couples. The prize? An afternoon with Peter and a chance to save their relationship.

The contest ensnares its creator in the largely opaque politics of her publishing house while it intro­duces the reader to couples in various states of distress, including a shy thirtysomething Brooklynite and her charismatic and entrepreneurial husband, who may just be a bit too charismatic for the good of their marriage. There's the middle-aged publisher whose im­posing manner has managed to impose loneliness on her for longer than she cares to admit. And then there is Peter, who must discover what he meant when he wrote Marriage Is a Canoe if he is going to help the contest's winners and find a way to love again.

In Love Is a Canoe, Ben Schrank delivers a smart, funny, romantic, and hugely satisfying novel about the fragility of marriage and the difficulty of repairing the damage when well-intentioned people forget how to be good to each other.

 

About Ben Schrank

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Ben Schrank is president and publisher of Razorbill, a Penguin imprint that is home to many award-winning and New York Times-bestselling books for children and young adults. Ben is also the author of the novels Consent and Miracle Man. He wrote "Ben's Life," a monthly column for Seventeen magazine, in the 1990s. He grew up in Brooklyn, where he lives with his wife and son.
 
Published January 8, 2013 by Sarah Crichton Books. 353 pages
Genres: Romance, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Love Is a Canoe
All: 2 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 1

NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Jan 20 2013

...ambivalence serves to humanize “Love Is a Canoe.” But it also allows Mr. Schrank’s story to drag its heels. We are halfway through this narrative before Eli and Emily...meet Peter...it’s the only part of this novel that packs much of a punch.

Read Full Review of Love Is a Canoe: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Dean Bakopoulos on Jan 04 2013

Schrank has done something here that may sound impossible: He’s written a funny novel about publishing that is not caustic but optimistic, not biting but bighearted...

Read Full Review of Love Is a Canoe: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

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JENNA AUBREY

JENNA AUBREY 5 Sep 2013

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