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Kayak Morning: Reflections on Love, Grief,…
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Kayak Morning: Reflections on Love, Grief, and Small Boats (2012)

by Roger Rosenblatt

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Roger Rosenblatt's bestselling and moving memoir, MAKING TOAST, made me a fan a few years back. KAYAK MORNING is a kind of sequel to that book and is every bit as wise and engaging. And incredibly sad, actually. KM seems to be another attempt to stave off his continuing grief over the loss of his daughter. In fact, as evidenced by brief exchanges with a therapist, Rosenblatt tells her that MAKING TOAST -

"... 'was therapy. As long as I could write about Amy, I could keep her alive.'
'What about afterward?'
'When the book was finished, it was as if she had died again.'
'The book isn't enough,' she said.
'No, it's not enough.'
'So what do you do now? Write another book?'
'There has to be something more lasting than a book.'
'And what would that be?'"

What indeed could be more lasting that a book, particularly one like KAYAK MORNING, which is bound to strike the same chord with its readers that the earlier book did. And Rosenblatt tells us here that he received literally thousands of letters from readers of that book, from people who had also lost loved ones, letters he keeps, cannot bear to throw away.

The kayak itself is another kind of therapy for the author, a means of escape to a quiet place, the creek by his house on Long Island, where he can meditate and observe nature. He admits that he is an amateur, but is okay with that, noting that "the advantage of being an amateur in most things, including kayaking, is that all any enterprise requires is love. Love hides in the word 'amateur.'"

In his kayak mornings, Rosenblatt gives his mind and memories free rein, creating a book filled with wisdom-filled musings.

"What is the difference between grief and mourning? Mourning has company."

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is carrying a great burden."

"When Amy died, I'd have been better off not believing in God. Yet the supreme dice roller is precisely the God I believe in. The God who deserts the wreckage and doesn't care. The God of my rage."

"People in grief become more like themselves."

And about his grandson, Amy's youngest child, who asks him ('Boppo') to stay with him until he falls asleep -

"As we lay side by side in silence, I felt his little hand touch my forearm and rest there. His body twitched, indicating that he was sleeping. I remained with him."

Yes, KAYAK MORNING is a book that will last. And I hope it provides comfort not only to its many readers, but also to its author. Thank you, Mr. Rosenblatt, for this beautiful little book. ( )
  TimBazzett | Aug 4, 2014 |
A more correct title for this book would be Kayak Mourning. I read Making Toast by the same author and really enjoyed it because so much of it was about how he and his wife, while grieving the loss of their daughter, were enjoying helping her husband with the three children she left behind.

This book was all about him, so much so that he comes off as totally self involved. He mentions his wife merely in passing and doesn't acknowledge that she, too, suffered a terrible loss. He mentions once that his sons have lost a sister. Otherwise this book is about him and his process of grieving--as if his loss is the greatest loss ever experienced by anyone. This book saddened me because I think he's missing so much that could help him and give him joy -- his grandchildren, wife, sons, friends, family, everything; and it makes me worry that he is considering suicide. I saw signs there. I hope I'm wrong. ( )
  whymaggiemay | Nov 1, 2012 |
Just a comment or two. Beautifully written book about the author's continuing struggle to accept the death of his daughter. It speaks to me of the power of grief and how there is no understanding how it ebbs and flows. A quote:

Grief comes to you all at once, so you think it will be over all at once. But it is your guest for a lifetime.
How should I treat this guest? This unwelcome, uninvited guest.
Think of the one who sent it to you. ( )
  dablackwood | Feb 28, 2012 |
In a lot of ways, this is a continuation of his meditations that began in "Making Toast". Rosenblatt is still deeply mourning his beloved daughter, now gone for a few years. He cannot shake his grief and anger, except, these days, as he paddles the creek behind his house in his one man kayak. He ponders things large and small out on the water, taking on memories and dreams with the same ease he watches the fish flitting around him, or the deer taking a drink from the creek, or the smudges on the windows at the back of his house. He uses the solitary hours to sort through himself, still trying to find a way to live with a sorrow that will not got away, trying to find room for the love and joy his life still offers. His pain jumps off the page, you cannot help but feel it yourself. However, this book did not make me sad, only thoughtful, thinking of people I've lost and remembering the parts of them I still have with me, making me a better person for having known them if but briefly. ( )
1 vote JackieBlem | Nov 27, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062084038, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:40 -0400)

"In [his earlier book] '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."-- Provided by publisher.… (more)

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