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Kayak Morning: Reflections on Love, Grief, and Small Boats

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  410 ratings  ·  93 reviews
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 Mornin
...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published January 3rd 2012 by Ecco
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Linda Lackey
I have long been a fan of Roger Rosenblatt's reflective writing. Back when he wrote a regular column for Time magazine, I would turn to the back of the magazine first to read him before any of the headline news. His "Man in the Water" essay is up there with Annie Dillard and Emerson in my book. So I have followed his recent career and read an excerpt from Making Toast, the book he wrote following his 38 year old daughter's unexpected death, that was printed in the New York Times. In Kayak Mornin ...more
Tatiana
Towards the middle of Kayak Morning by Roger Rosenblatt, the author admitted that “[t]here isn’t a hell of a lot to do these days but go kayaking and project.” And project—about kayaking and other random things—he does. Unlike the predecessor to this slim memoir, Making Toast, which I criticized for lacking philosophy, Morning is in the clouds and content to stay there.

In a stream of conscious rambling, Rosenblatt references the kayak and the creek ad nauseum, literature (can’t go into Nature wi
...more
Paula
This book was recommended to me by one of the moms in the on-going grief group that I attend in remembrance of the daughter that I lost. This particular mom who recommended it lost her son in a very tragic manner and is not one to speak up very much in group. So, when she spoke so highly of this book and how beautiful it was, I simply had to give it a try. I am so glad I did. The author is a father who lost his daughter who at the age of 38 died of an unexpected anomalous in her heart. This book ...more
Patricia Weenolsen
Kayak Morning, reflections on love, grief, and small boats, by Roger Rosenblatt
Ecco (HarperCollins), 2012.

How does one do justice to a piece of writing whose quality is far beyond the five stars permitted?

In Kayak Morning, the author is paddling on a creek two and one-half years after the unanticipated death of his thirty-eight-year-old daughter, Amy, due to a congenital anomaly of the heart. She left behind not only her parents, but her two brothers “who move about as if Amy were standing betwe
...more
Jackie
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 ...more
Jean
My heart goes out to Roger Rosenblatt. I love this author and love reading his books but his one was a sorrowful book that rambled and often got lost in his sadness and pain. This is the second book I have read after his daughter's untimely death and he seems to have gone deeper into his grief and his writing is even more uneven and wandering and broken as far as I am concerned. There some magical parts and some movingly touching moments but overall, I thought this book needed to be much better ...more
Ashley
A beautiful, elegant, heartbreaking elegy.
Lisa
This slim volume is a lovely treatise on grief, but it often rambles. It's as if Rosenblatt has to spew everything that's on his mind, in his stream of consciousness-style of writing. His inconsistency is jarring when he addresses his daughter Amy directly, yet other times, refers to her in the third person. My favorite passage is this one:

"You have to understand," she said. "Grief lasts forever."
"Like death," I said.
"Like death. Except death is someone else's condition, and grief is all yours.
...more
Doneen
I can't believe this is the same author who wrote "Making Toast," which I thought was a wonderful book about grieving the death of his daughter. This is more of a long, boring stream of consciousness ramble, of unconnected thoughts, more about kayaks than about grief. I hope it helped this author to get to a better place by getting this all down on paper, but there are some books that just don't need to be published for the rest of us to consume.
Amy
This is the January author to be featured by Thurber House. I would not recommend this book; I'm not even looking forward to his reading in a few weeks.

I found his thoughts disjointed. While he did have some wonderful observations on grief, they were few and far between. This time, instead of dropping celebrity names he writes of exotic travel.

The book could have, and maybe should have, been an essay.
Sevenponds
In his 2010 memoir, Making Toast, Roger Rosenblatt tells his story about loss after losing his daughter, Amy, unexpectedly. With a series of snippets similar to diary entries, Rosenblatt detailed his struggle with the aftermath and how he coped by helping take care of his grandchildren. Much like this first attempt to describe his experience, Kayak Morning tackles the grieving process from many different angles. Unlike his previous memoir, though, it goes deeper into the mind of someone dealing ...more
Momasita
I see that many did not care for this book.
While the author does tend to share random thoughts, they all lead back to one thing...the depth of his pain.
I, for one, found that he communicated this quite well.
I did like this book, but it is a very sad story, indeed.
Rachel C.
This may be the first time I've encountered something like stream of consciousness / free association / interior monologue in non-fiction. Writing the book may have been therapeutic for the author but I don't know what I was supposed to get out of it as a reader.
Tamera
I have always loved his past appearances and vivid, intelligent critiques. Was then moved beyond words when his essay about losing his daughter appeared in the New Yorker. And this elegy and even further eulogy has been a very special read.
Elizabeth Fagin
This is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. I highly recommend it for anyone who has experienced the grief of losing a loved-one. The writing is lovely and his insight into the grief process is both personal and meaningful.
Sean Goh
A stream-of-consciousness rambling that has a few gems, mainly at the start.

In kayaking, leaning into the imbalance is the way to right yourself. Only by moving in the direction you least trust can you be saved.

"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."

Maybe dogs simply live without time. That way they never know that somethi
...more
Katlet
I liked this well enough - it was more a meditation, or a meandering than a full story or essay. Some of the language was beautiful, but I would have liked more of a narrative.
Alan
Very disjointed and difficult to read. Made no sense at all. This one was a clunker.
Jo Ellen
"Two and a half years after our thirty eight year old daughter, Amy, died of an undetected anomalous right coronary artery, I have taken up kayaking." This book is my present from Bev because she thought it might help. I cry as I experience his grief -- and mine all over again. Yes, it helps. The lone kayaker on the water -- it does capture the utter alone-ness of grief, yet there is a comfort in that natural world, there are reassurances in the constancy of nature. Eternity is not too far away.
Robin
In his bestselling memoir "Making Toast" Rosenblatt wrote about his family after his 38-year-old daughter Amy died suddenly of an unknown heart condition, leaving behind a husband and three young children. "Kayak Morning" takes place two years later, as he continues his journey of grief, exploring his life in a series of essays, poems, and reflective writings. His solitary kayak trips become a time of daily meditation on the big issues - life, death, love, the meaning of it all, and how we go on ...more
Kate
I was grieving when I read this book. I paddle my joys. I paddle my sorrows. I take my meh days to the water and the Church of the Double Bladed Paddle, ditto my wow! days. I am a paddler wrestling with grief, loss, sorrow in a lonely place and foreign land but this book didn't work for me. I wanted to be cradled in a kayak, out in beautiful transforming light, paddling, being healed, not to be reading about someone else taking their emotional pain to the cradling kayak and healing, transforming ...more
Kathleen S


Like Making Toast, most of this book is stream of conscious reflections as the author kayaks near his home on Long Island. Rosenblatt puts his kayak in the water and as he moves along, various thoughts and images enter his mind, many of them about his daughter who died two years earlier.

It was a good morning out on the water and now he paddles back home. This book continues the pain and love from Making Toast, but without the wit.

Some of the writing seems like he is showing off, as if the senten
...more
KJ Grow
Oh, my. I wanted so much to love this book, having heard great things about the author's prior memoir, Making Toast.

One day, I will have a small boat and in the mornings I'll paddle out for a few moments to commune with the shorebirds and the sundry water creatures. And in that sense - the longing for solitude, the fascination with nature - Roger Rosenblatt is a man of my heart.

But this book, I'm sad to say, is a mess and is in desperate need of some editorial TLC. The writing jumps around disj
...more
Maggie
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 tha
...more
Diane
I want to like this book, however, it's a bit of a challenge. Perhaps my expectations going into it were too high and that added (if not created) some of the disappointment. The writing in some areas is incredibly beautiful and yet overall the book (like grief itself), is just all over the place. Some of his writings are so spot on you know, if you've lived through it, that he had hit the bulls eye and yet it's very erratic and inconsistent. For example, "The afternoon Ginny and I got the call, ...more
Felicity
It's a great tragedy when I start running out of patience with books as beautiful as Rosenblatt's "Kayak Morning." I suspect my rating reflects more poorly on me and my lack of experience with devastating grief than the poetry of Rosenblatt's words.

I did enjoy Rosenblatt's "Making Toast" and, on that basis, I was drawn to "Kayak Morning." Perhaps because I am not a parent myself, the overwhelming nature of Rosenblatt's grief eludes me. The elements that charmed me about "Making Toast"--moving on
...more
Keith
I picked up this book while I was looking for books on building kayaks. Obviously this book hasn't helped me to build my boat. It has she'd light on the grief I have experienced in my life. Roger Rosenblatt provide lots of little nuggets and interesting insights into his grieving. I especially like his look at love, especially in the final pages.
Pat Loughery
A lovely idea, but it just didn't captivate me as I hoped it would. I had hoped to give it to a friend who is grieving but has difficulty processing those emotions. This book isn't it.

The book is distant, disengaged, partly on purpose, partly by personality.

It did propel me to read Tinkers and pull out On Celtic Tides: One Man's Journey Around Ireland by Sea Kayak for another re-read, but I don't think I'll need to revisit this one. It was by no means a poor book; it just didn't catch my attent
...more
Arin
Beautifully sad. I read this book for a book club. I think the title of this book should have a U (Kayak Mourning). There are many funny moments but as a member of my book club said: "every laugh in this book ends with a sigh." It has an uplifting ending.
Rebecca Valentine
Loved "Making Toast." Did not like this one as much, but how do you rate another person's grief? Each journey is different. I stopped and pondered quite a bit during the reading of this little memoir, which is really more like a journal of thoughts.
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Roger Rosenblatt’s essays for Time magazine and PBS have won two George Polk Awards, a Peabody, and an Emmy. He is the author of six Off-Broadway plays and 13 books, including the national bestseller Rules for Aging and Children of War, which won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. He has written two satirical novels, Beet and Lapham Risi ...more
More about Roger Rosenblatt...
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“In every heartbreak beauty intrudes.” 0 likes
“Grief. The state of mind brought about when love, having lost to death, learns to breathe beside it. See also love.” 0 likes
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