In the Heart of the Canyon (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In The Heart of the Canyon by Elisabeth Hyde allows the reader to join JT's 125th run
down the Colorado.  He is a proficient
head guide, well able to show his customers a good time while bringing them
through safe and sound.  Except things
start to go awry straight from the get go. 
On the first night of camping there is a lost dog.  JT has never seen a lost dog on the river,
they are not allowed.  He calls into the
ranger only to be told to deal with it. 
What is JT going to do with a dog running rapids?  His fellow guides, Abo and Dixie, are divided
in their opinions on the dog’s fate. Then there are the customers, not the
usual mix. Ruth and Lloyd have been running the river every year since the
1950’s only this year is different, Lloyd has dementia.  Susan brought her seriously overweight
daughter Amy on the trip, JT doesn’t think he has ever seen a girl as heavy as
Amy on the river.  Compton family,
mother, father and two sons, are energetic. 
Harvard professor Evelyn Burns has looked forward to this trip all
year.  Kevin was sent by his sister, he
is out of work, was recently dumped by his girlfriend, and can’t swim.  Lena and Mitchell are from Wyoming, he is a
real pain in the patootie, an opinion on everything.  One of them carries a secret that could
derail the trip.  All of them start out
as strangers but the river works its magic and they end up so much more.  Come along with JT, he is a good guide and
will show you a fine time In The Heart
of the Canyon.  
This is a great way to enjoy rafting the Colorado without ever getting

— Deon Stonehouse


Over the course of thirteen long days, twelve assorted passengers, three rafting guides and one stray dog will navigate the rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon together. From their early-morning rise on the shore of the river to the adrenaline rush of paddling through Lava Falls, they will soon come to know each other more intimately than they could have expected. Tempers will flare and decisions will be second-guessed . . . and ultimately all of them, from an unhappy teenager to an aging river guide, will realize that sometimes the most daunting adventures have nothing to do with white-water rapids, and everything to do with reconfiguring the rocky canyons of the heart.

About the Author

Elisabeth Hyde is the author of four previous novels. Born and raised in New Hampshire, she has since lived in Vermont, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Seattle. In 1979 she received her law degree and practiced briefly with the U.S. Department of Justice. She currently lives in Colorado with her family.
Visit the author's website at

Praise For…

“[An] incredible journey. . . . Hyde paddles us through . . . [while] her characters open up to one another and to themselves.”
The New York Times Book Review

“An excellent armchair adventure. . . . Hyde vividly portrays both the wonders and horrors of white-water rafting.”
The Boston Globe

“A near perfect blend of humor and drama, heartbreak and redemption.”
The Dallas Morning News

“Hyde has a keen eye for social dynamics, but she’s just as good at keeping the adrenaline pumping. . . . She expertly evokes the thrill and terror of rapid-running. . . . A bracing ride.”
“A fast-paced trip down the Colorado River. . . . Hyde hints at adventure around every bend in the river . . . and she delivers. . . . The book is a pleasing mix of travelogue and psychological exploration.”
Seattle Times
“A poignant, first-rate story.”
The Denver Post
“Hyde scores a bull’s-eye with her fifth novel. . . . An engrossing, evocative study of human behavior, especially under duress. . . . A great read for hot summer days and cool nights.”
The Durango Herald (Colorado)
“An astute, engrossing, character-driven affair. . . . The novel succeeds as both a study of strangers striving toward a common goal and as a suspenseful drama filled with angst and humanity. Hyde outshines herself with this wild ride.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Hyde writes with subtle humor and with such expertise that readers will feel as if they’re in the raft with her. . . . In this book, it’s not the finale that will win you. It’s the journey.”
The Arizona Republic
 “There’s nothing predictable about either Hyde’s plot or her searing conclusion.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Hyde writes evocatively. . . . Her sense of place and descriptive ability are as bright as the Arizona sun.”
Houston Chronicle
“Realistically suspenseful. . . . In the Heart of the Canyon is perfect summer reading.”
The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
“Many things can happen on those wild-river trips, things that novelists manage to turn into great fiction. Here’s a new twist on the scenario . . . a ride below the Grand Canyon that promises adventure aplenty.”
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“The group dynamics on a trip like this are fascinating, and the book is another winner.”
The Toronto Sun
“Beach reads abound, but few are as well written as In the Heart of the Canyon. . . . Think romantic trysts and a seismic surprise—[it] will hold you rapt.”
Self Magazine
“It is unlikely you will soon forget your traveling companions.”
—Newark Star-Ledger
“This finely wrought page-turner will keep you on a wild ride for all 226 miles. You won’t want to put it down.”
—Page Lambert, author of In Search of Kinship
Product Details
ISBN: 9780307276421
ISBN-10: 0307276422
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: July 13th, 2010
Pages: 336
Language: English
Series: Vintage Contemporaries