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A Ship Made of Paper (2003)

de Scott Spencer

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473943,529 (3.31)26
Daniel Emerson lives with Kate Ellis, and he is like a father to her daughter, Ruby. But he cannot control his desire for Iris Davenport, the African-American woman whose son is Ruby's best friend. During a freak October blizzard, Daniel is stranded at Iris's house, and they begin a sexual liaison that eventually imperils all their relationships, Daniel's profession, their children's well-being, their own race-blindness, and their view of themselves as essentially good people.… (més)
  1. 00
    Olympia de Anita Shreve (citygirl)
    citygirl: Well-drawn, insightful, intimate views of the heart in both of these books about taboo couplings. Both explore the emotional and social consequences of stepping over the line.
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» Mira també 26 mencions

Es mostren 1-5 de 9 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Quite a dramatic story about Daniel Emerson, who wants to start a new life. Soon after starting this new life, he falls for another woman whose child is Daniel's live-in-girlfriend's child's best friend. What could possibly go wrong? This book deals with following desire no matter where it lead. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Jul 16, 2018 |
After a shattering incident of violence is perpetrated against him, lawyer Daniel Emerson leaves New York City and returns to the Hudson River town where he grew up. There, along with his partner Kate Ellis and her young daughter, Ruby, Daniel settles into the kind of secure and comfortable family life he always longed for during his emotionally barren childhood. However, he ultimately cannot control his desire for Iris Davenport, an African-American woman whose son is Ruby's best friend.

During a freak October blizzard, Daniel is stranded at Iris' house, and they spend the night together - beginning a sexual liaison that eventually imperils all their relationships, Daniel's profession, their children's well-being, their own race-blindness, and their view of themselves as essentially good people. The emotional stakes are raised even higher when Iris' husband, Hampton, suffers a devastating accidental injury at Daniel's hands.

Scott Spencer is a new author to me and this actually is the first book by this author that I've read. Reading this story was quite complex for me; there were many layers to it that caused me to read this book slowly - savoring it until I had reached the last page. Ultimately, I thoroughly enjoyed reading A Ship Made of Paper: A Novel from beginning to end. I give this book a definite A+! and have already put three more books by Scott Spencer on my Wish List. ( )
  moonshineandrosefire | Aug 9, 2013 |
I absolutely adored this book. Scott Spencer wrote this book in a way I didn't think a man could - it felt so real and true to people's feelings. I felt anxious, betrayed and in the end alone, I need more Spencer! ( )
  SeriousEmily | Nov 5, 2010 |
And as for Kate: she is suffering, but how can he protect her from it, how can he even soothe her when he himself is misery's messenger? The unmentionable truth is that he has moved on. No. Worse. He has moved up. He has entered a higher plane of feeling, a higher plane of devotion, and a higher plane of pleasure. How can he make Kate understand this? He is not only leaving her, he is leaving himself, leaving everything familiar behind, he is slipping over the border with only the clothes on his back.

Daniel is a lawyer in a small town a hundred miles north of New York city, who meets and grows infatuated with Iris, the mother of his step-daughter's best friend. She's the only black woman in town and Daniel is fascinated by her. His wife, Kate, knows he's interested in Iris, but trusts him. Iris's husband is too involved in his own life to notice anything.

A Ship Made of Paper tells the story of an affair, how Daniel is willing to throw away everything to be with Iris. It's also a story about race, how we haven't come quite as far as we think we have. Set against the backdrop of the O.J. Simpson trial, Spencer shows how different people framed the story in completely different ways and how those differences fell almost entirely along color lines.

The book is very well-written and I can see why it was a contender for the National Book Award, but it isn't a comfortable read. How does a person justify hurting the people they love?

"You know, Kate says, pouring herself more wine, less judiciously this time, "people think that love is what's best in each of us, our capacity to love, our need for love. They think love is like God, and they worship their own feelings of love, which is really just narcissism masquerading as spirituality. You understand? If we say that God is love, then we can say that love is God, and that gives us the right to all these chaotic, needy, lusting, insane feelings inside of ourselves. We can call it love, and from there it's just a hop, skip and a jump to calling it God. But here's a thought. What if God isn't love? And love isn't God? What if all those emotions we call love turn out to be what's really worst in us, what is it's all the firings of the foulest, most primitive part of the back brain, what if it's just as savage and selfish as rage or greed or lust?" ( )
2 vota RidgewayGirl | Mar 21, 2010 |
A sharp study of infidelity. Daniel's life starts to unravel after he falls head-over-heels for Iris. His family, integrity and career are all sacrificed to his unquenchable desire. Tragedy, passion and obsession. ( )
  fig2 | Mar 5, 2010 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 9 (següent | mostra-les totes)
"A Ship Made of Paper," Spencer's astonishing new novel, is the work of a meticulous, gifted writer whose characters are too inconveniently human for the slick redemptions of the big screen. Shrewd, compassionate and unflinching, this new book takes a perilous journey that leaves readers stranded on the shoals with nothing for protection but their own flimsy, sinking beliefs about race and desire.
 
One of the truly likable things about the book is that Spencer allows it to tack this way and that, moving from drama to high comedy like a boat pitching over waves.
 
This isn't the only way that the emotional ecology of ''A Ship Made of Paper'' feels cooked, less a complex, full-blooded work of art than an elaborate excuse, or even a symptom. It reeks of displaced anger; while everyone around them rages, Daniel and Iris, initially the only characters with real grievances, remain the soul of seraphic forbearance. They are simply too nice, too unrelievedly sweet to be convincing as reckless, ferocious lovers.
 
''A Ship Made of Paper'' takes its share of storytelling risks, from allowing Daniel to fly through town in his dream life to verbatim repetition of certain climactic events (between Daniel and Hampton) that the reader has already experienced. Even when they falter, these effects emphasize the book's invigorating vitality and its author's ingratiating self-knowledge.
 
Spencer is masterful at handling the complexities of being human as he illustrates the highlights and dark spots of his characters.
 
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On a ship that's made of paper, I would sail the seven seas.

"Just to Be With You"

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Daniel and Hampton were paired by chance and against their wishes.
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Daniel Emerson lives with Kate Ellis, and he is like a father to her daughter, Ruby. But he cannot control his desire for Iris Davenport, the African-American woman whose son is Ruby's best friend. During a freak October blizzard, Daniel is stranded at Iris's house, and they begin a sexual liaison that eventually imperils all their relationships, Daniel's profession, their children's well-being, their own race-blindness, and their view of themselves as essentially good people.

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