on 4 September 2009
I was given this book, I had no expectations and was trying to shake off some reader's block when I decided to give it a try. I thoroughly enjoyed it, the setting of the Grand Canyon and the rafting bits really appealed to me. Most of the characters were well drawn and interesting. The plot was fairly simple and I appreciated the fact that there is no real darkness to this book (I knew this quite early on having read a review on here). I liked the list of characters at the front of the book which I did refer to because there are a lot of names thrown at you at the beginning. However it doesn't get 5 stars from me because it was just a bit too light, too easy.
I would recommend this book if you need some escapism.
"In the Heart of the Canyon" is set in amongst the Colorado river rapids, deep within the Grand Canyon. It is the story of a group of tourists embarking on the trip of a lifetime, each one for their own reasons, and each one with a very different personality. Lead by the guides, JT, Abo, and Dixie, they learn how to function as a team and how to pull together through many adventures and misadventures!
This is an easy, gentle book which I would highly recommend as a holiday read. It's not taxing in any way, and everyone could find something enjoyable within it.
The characters are rounded and whole, and each one has unique foibles (I was almost as annoyed with Mitchell as the rest of the characters were!).
What makes this novel special is the passion for the Canyon that is apparent from Hyde's language. It's clear from the outset that she is writing about what she knows.
Having only ever stood at the edge of Grand Canyon myself, Hyde's urgency to evoke crystal clear images of what lies deep within the canyon is successful.
I read this book within 24 hours, and then immediately upon finishing it found myself logging on to find out details about taking a river rapids trip.
I'm giving this novel 5 stars, because although it's not the most high-brow, most intellectual story ever written, it completely fulfils it's job and catapults you into this world of boats, treachery, and adventure... and once you start it, you won't want to put it down.
This a perfect summer read, with a character driven plot, and a fascinating setting. It's obviously well researched, and I wasn't surprised to learn that Elisabeth has not only made the trip herself, but she also done it as an assistant. This research is evident in the telling of the story, as you can almost imagine yourself there, taking that journey with them.
A river trip also provides an ideal opportunity to bring together many varied characters.. which leads to some interesting individual stories, interactions, and outcomes. I won't go into details about these, but I'm certain that you'll have your favourite by the end of the book - there are definitely one or two who haven't left me since reading!
There is a major crisis during the trip (personally I worked it out quite early, but thought that by the end it was well handled), but Elisabeth doesn't try to fall back on making this a thriller.. there's no need for a murder or anything similar. The book is all about the characters, and the journey.. both the physical river one, and their own personal ones.
Highly recommend for your suitcase this summer, allowing you to take a holiday within a holiday!
on 1 October 2009
I had never read any work by Elisabeth Hyde but I was very pleasantly surprised by In the Heart of the Canyon. Was it the very expert and vivid description of the amazing setting (a two-week raft ride down the colorado river)? Was is the wide range of well-drawn and interesting characters whose background stories were subtly touched on without sounding forced or fake? Was it the elegant prose which quite cleverly wove it all in one very gripping book? I'm not sure but i certainly know that I enjoyed the book immensely and read it very quickly. Although I did have a fleeting feeling of 'is that it?' at the end, i would warmly recommend this book and will definitely read more of her books.
Anyone who has looked down into the Grand Canyon and watched the turquoise waters of the Colorado river snaking along must wonder what it is like to be down there in "the heart of the canyon". Elizabeth Hyde's novel recounts the story of a river trip led by JT Maroney - a veteran guide with 124 trips under his belt. There are twelve assorted guests ranging in age from 12 to 76. Some are already experienced in this type of adventure holiday, some are obviously unfit and ill-prepared.
Over the twelve days JT and the other leaders have to respond to a range of tantrums, bad behaviour, selfishness, accidents and ill-health. While all these problems are probable typical of most package activity trips the dangers of the river add another dimension. As expected there is some unexpected drama along the way....
From a literary point of view In The Heart Of The Canyon is a fairly unremarkable work but it is a very light and enjoyable read. Some writers would have made this book into an Arizona version of Deliverance - but this reads more like an advertisement for the rafting companies listed at the back of the book!
A feel-good summer read.
on 22 August 2009
I bought this book because it was set in Arizona and I absolutely love it there! Turned out that it was a really good book and I loved reading it. I thought that it was well written and created good character with interesting stories, without any of the usual fallbacks that writers so often use. Some of it did feel a little unreal at times but this was easily forgiven by the way that the story unfolded and by the end I just didn't want it to end.
on 9 August 2009
I selected this book because the idea of the story sounded different. I did not have any prior knowledge of the author and what a brilliant read. Although nothing happens, everything happens! There is not one big event but the story is crafted through small events that change the relationships on the journey. It really is quite superb.