Canoeing with José

The Los Angeles Review 

Canoeing with José is "marked with moments of sublime beauty and terror... Lurie's descriptions of the perilous journey through bad weather, swarms of insects, and boat-crushing rapids—as well as the wide variety of people they met on their way—will satisfy readers looking for adventure narratives."— Booklist

“Canoeing with José is part nail-biting adventure narrative, part memoir, part meditation on race and heritage and class. Jon Lurie’s perilous northward river journey through Minnesota to the Hudson Bay—accompanied by a Puerto Rican/Native American city kid who listens to hip-hop at the prow of their canoe—holds up a mirror to Mark Twain’s Huck Finn. This is a thoroughly compelling, deeply thought-provoking book—fierce, funny, and full of emotion.”— Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members

“Canoeing with José is a superb memoir. This journey—brilliantly rendered by Jon Lurie’s diamond-sharp prose—is intensely attuned to history and voices of the marginalized. As deeply personal as it is journalistic, teeming with tenderness and pain and humor, this book invites the reader on an astonishing river voyage. On the way, we encounter both friends and strangers, loves and aches. Yes, this is a beautifully detailed story about eagle feathers and trail mix and cell phones dropped into the muck. But it is also so much more than that. Lurie has written about what it means ‘to live a deeply meaningful life,’ to be human, to be fully awake to the world.”— Alex Lemon, author of Happy

“With great skill, Jon Lurie has rendered the white-knuckle adventure of a wilderness canoe trip into a poignant testament to the ongoing struggle of indigenous people today. Written with unflinching honesty, a journalist's eye for detail, and great heart, Canoeing with Jose is a fascinating story of friendship, resilience, and the necessity of facing our history head on, lest we forget. Maman would be proud!”— Diane Wilson, author of Spirit Car

“Canoeing with José is a twenty-first-century Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. It’s a journey of forgiveness, redemption, healing, and hope, full of breathtaking adventures and deep meditations about humanity and our connection with nature. It flows with the author’s yearning to be one with water and spirit. It takes us deep and fast through rapids of beauty, love, and awakening.”— Wang Ping, author of Aching for Beauty

“Jon Lurie’s engagement with Eric Sevareid’s Canoeing with the Cree is much more than a retracing: it is a reframing of our engagement with a landscape that was only recklessly inscribed by us as ‘wilderness.’ In his young companion, José, Lurie finds not only the perfect foil to his mid-life wanderings, but a voice that is as exuberant as it is discomfited by the prospect of re-experiencing what is Native to his being—and truly becoming—American.”— Joel Turnipseed, author of Baghdad Express

“Jon Lurie is a gifted storyteller with a perceptive awareness of place. This is a story of resiliency, adventure, and sincere friendship that reminds us to stay inspired in life, and to keep moving forward. Lurie reads the memories of the landscape and weaves these narratives back towards the present to show how reconnecting and deepening our relationships with the land can hold the power to heal.”— Kate Beane, Minnesota History Center


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