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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco; Original edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062084038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062084033
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,557 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Two and a half years after the death of his daughter, Amy, author and essayist Rosenblatt still found himself lost in grief and anger. He took to his kayak in search of peace and found a way to ponder grief, if not lose it. Rosenblatt is poetic in remembrances from his career and personal life—many of Amy as child, as wife, as mother, as healer. He offers small observations on life and waterways and the careful navigation of both. The quiet moments on Penniman’s Creek lend themselves to recollections of literary allusions, as do the more perilous or spectacular adventures on water in Rwanda, Latvia, Galápagos, and Wyoming. Mostly, he struggles with his anger and longing for Amy as he copes with grief, admitting that writing Making Toast (2010) offered only temporary relief. Skeptical of the solace others offer in beliefs in the afterlife, he finds solace instead in quiet mornings alone in the kayak, drifting in the creek and coming to terms with the fact that Amy lives in his love of her. A beautiful contemplation on love and grief. --Vanessa Bush

From the Back Cover

From Roger Rosenblatt, author of the bestsellers Making Toast and Unless It Moves the Human Heart, comes a moving meditation on the passages of grief, the solace of solitude, and the redemptive power of love

In Making Toast, Roger Rosenblatt shared the story of his family in the days and months after the death of his thirty-eight-year-old daughter, Amy. Now, in Kayak Morning, he offers a personal meditation on grief itself. “Everybody grieves,” he writes. From that terse, melancholy observation emerges a work of art that addresses the universal experience of loss.

On a quiet Sunday morning, two and a half years after Amy’s death, Roger heads out in his kayak. He observes,“You can’t always make your way in the world by moving up. Or down, for that matter. Boats move laterally on water, which levels everything. It is one of the two great levelers.” Part elegy, part quest, Kayak Morning explores Roger’s years as a journalist, the comforts of literature, and the value of solitude, poignantly reminding us that grief is not apart from life but encompasses it. In recalling to us what we have lost, grief by necessity resurrects what we have had.


More About the Author

ROGER ROSENBLATT is the winner of a Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize, a Peabody Award, an Emmy, and two George Polk awards. He writes essays for Time magazine and for The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. He lives in Manhattan and Quogue, Long Island.

Customer Reviews

Such an honest and moving memoir on love, loss, perseverance, but mostly love, as it should be.
Eric H.
He does not pretend that he has found the answers to his questions, so this is not a book one should read as if he is going to tell us some secret.
Patricia Caiozzo
Scattered throughout the book are references and quotes from writers such as Melville and Wordsworth.
K. Corn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By K. Corn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 9, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Two years after Roger Rosenblatt's daughter Amy dies from an undetected heart condition, he is still, understandably, grieving . Always a loner, he turns to kayaking to find solitude and perhaps some new way of handling his sadness.

Being out on the water is not an escape from grief but another opportunity to remember his daughter and....at least from this reader's perspective...to explore the depths of his loss while immersed in the natural world.

After his daughter's death, Rosenblatt believed that if he just " got on with it" the pain would somehow diminish. But it did not. So Rosenblattt seeks to transform his grief while kayaking.

Along the way, he is learning the difference between mourning, supported by others, and grieving ...alone. They may overlap. But mourning and grief are not the same.

The kayaking seems to help put everything into a deeper perspective. Meanwhile, Rosenblatt talks to Amy, recalls times they'd shared, lessons he learned from her. She is never far from his thoughts.

Scattered throughout the book are references and quotes from writers such as Melville and Wordsworth. In this way, Rosenblatt expands the whole grief process into more than a personal, individual one. He draws upon the varied perspectives of others.

But at the heart of Kayak Morning is Rosenblatt's ongoing struggle to come to terms with his loss. And he begins to see some rays of hope- or perhaps they are best described as moments of comfort. Recalling how much love his daughter shared with so many, he wonders if perhaps love can - in a way - conquer death. He carries his daughter's love with him and she "lives in his love".

So what does he conclude as the book comes to an end? How is he different?
Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joe Tye on January 27, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is not a handbook for coping with tragedy (for that see How to Handle Trouble by John Carmody) or a philosophical treatise on why bad things happen to good people (see the classic by Harold Kushner if that's what you're looking for). Kayak Morning is a poetic meditation, like the sound of one hand clapping in the valley of the shadow. I don't see how any parent can read this book without being moved - especially any father of a daughter. This paragraph from the book was particulary insightful:

"When you love someone every moment is shadowed by the fear of loss. Then loss occurs, and you feel more love than ever. The more you loved, more you feel the loss. Depression, then, may be seen as the strongest expression of love. That's where logic gets you."

Anyone who's ever paddled a kayak, or who's experience a grievous loss, will, I think, find themselves becoming an invisible passenger on Rosenblatt's Kayak.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By RW on February 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
I chose to read this because I enjoy the ocean, and the thought of relating a loss to experiences on the water intrigued me. I'm also a Stony Brook alum, and the author teaches there. It was not what I initially expected. I thought more of the book would relate directly to a kayak ride on the creek, but that was the minor part of the book. In retrospect, there's really not "enough" about a kayak ride with which to fill an entire book. Much of the book covered the author's other thoughts based on his musings and significant life experiences. I was thinking, what do those things have to do with the loss of his daughter? Eventually, I realized that it was his way of affirming the other parts of his life and of the greater world so he can begin to put his loss in perspective, as everyone must eventually do. It's an easy but interesting read, so there's no risk in picking it up if you're undecided. He ends the book back on topic, with two pages that are difficult to make it through dry-eyed.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. Scott on February 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Rosenblatt's gift for language and thought are clearly evident in this poignant meditation. To try to say what it's "about" does not serve the work adequately. To me, it is a gorgeous prose poem that conveys deep emotion. When I first open the book, I started reading along quickly but soon slowed my pace to keep pace with the sound of the quiet paddling on the creek. It's a beautiful book. Let it happen for you.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Stephen T. Hopkins VINE VOICE on February 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Roger Rosenblatt's fine writing rescues a scattered collection of thoughts and turns them into lucid reflections that many readers will find comforting. Titled Kayak Morning: Reflections on Love, Grief, and Small Boats, Rosenblatt uses this book to continue to share with readers the ways in which he has been dealing with the death of his daughter. Sometimes it comes down to breathing. Readers who have experienced the loss of a loved one will find in this book an expression of feelings and behavior that will be familiar.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Caiozzo on December 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
Rosenblatt's book is a sparse 146 pages, but I was pulled along with him, alone in his kayak, navigating Penninman's Creek in Quogue, as he tries to navigate the terrain of this world, two years after the death of his 38 year old daughter Amy. There is a lyric quality and a gentleness to this reflection that prevents you from putting it down. I woke up the next morning and reread parts of the book again. I was struck by the line, "Be kind, for everyone you meet is carrying a great burden." Rosenblatt carries his grief with him wherever he goes and the kayak becomes a central metaphor for how each of us travels through loss. He is alone in the kayak, alone in his grief, amidst the natural beauty which surrounds him, recalling his first experience of death, an 11 year old boy named Thon in Sudan. As he paddles in solitude, a lone figure on the creek, he weaves together for the reader recollections - a sonnet from Wordsworth on the death of his daughter, recollections of novels about father-daughter relationships: King Lear, Emma, The Tempest. One can sense that Rosenblatt does not want to become like Ayen, a 23 year old woman in Sudan, who sits under a tree and thinks about "nothing" after the deaths of her husband and two children. Being in control of the kayak is a way for Rosenblatt to be in control in a universe filled with loss, a universe over which we have no control. Rosenblatt tells us the social life of the creek is busy - it is teeming with life, but he must find a way to treat death, "this unwelcome invited guest," and his fear is that he will turn to stone in his solitary grief.Read more ›
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