Hyde, Elisabeth. In the Heart of the Canyon. Westminster, MD: Books on Tape, 2009.
In the Heart of the Canyon is an accurate portrayal of a thirteen day river trip down the Grand Canyon; so much so that I felt I could have been there. Hyde effectively describes the guides, the tourists, the scenery, and of course, the Colorado River picture perfect. The character development of everyone involved in the trip builds just as if you were in the boats with them, getting to know them as the days and miles pass by. The weather (and how to deal with the heat) and surrounding nature comes alive with Hyde’s words. And when it comes to rafting down the river you can tell Hyde has seen rapids and even had a “maytag” experience or two. She puts you right in the action. A story about a rafting trip down the Colorado would be enough material for a book but Hyde takes it a step further by introducing a stray dog early in the story and creating characters that are not only interesting but complex. One character in particular, seventeen year old Amy keeps a journal. Her journal gives the events described by Hyde a new perspective. She introduces a different point of view and her comments serve as a reminder that everyone has an alternate truth based on their own unique personality. It’s what happens when you put twelve strangers and three guides together.
As an aside about the guides, I am around these kinds of people all the time. I can picture them perfectly. Tanned, well-built, confident and sure-footed moving in and around the boats. Congenial and comfortable. They give off an air of relaxed attitude but in the back of their minds they know everything about the trip is in their hands. Safety and fun.
Reason read: John Muir was born in April. Being a naturalist I thought it would be appropriate to read something that takes place 100% outdoors.
Author fact: According to Hyde, In the Heart of the Canyon came about when she was on a rafting trip and got “maytagged.”
Book trivia: In the Heart of the Canyon has a YouTube trailer. It makes the book out to be more of a dramatic thriller than it is.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust in the chapter called “AZ You Like It” (p 31).