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Sarah Crichton Books
<P>Peter Herman is something of a folk hero. <I>Marriage Is a Canoe</I>, his legendary, decades-old book on love and relationships, has won the hearts of hopeful romantics and desperate cynics alike. He and his beloved wife lived a relatively peaceful life in upstate New York. But now it’s 2010, and Peter’s wife has just died. Completely lost, he passes the time with a woman he admires but doesn’t love—and he begins to look back through the pages of his book and question homilies such as:</P><P><I>A good marriage is a canoe—it needs care and isn’t meant to hold too much—no more than two adults and a few kids.</I></P><P>It’s advice he has famously doled out for decades. But what is it worth?</P><P>Then Peter receives a call from Stella Petrovic, an ambitious young editor who wants to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of <I>Marriage Is a Canoe </I>with a contest for struggling couples. The prize? An afternoon with Peter and a chance to save their relationship.</P><P>The contest ensnares its creator in the largely opaque politics of her publishing house while it introduces the reader to couples in various states of distress, including a shy thirtysomething Brooklynite and her charismatic and entrepreneurial husband, who may just be a bit too charismatic for the good of their marriage. There’s the middle-aged publisher whose imposing manner has managed to impose loneliness on her for longer than she cares to admit. And then there is Peter, who must discover what he <I>meant </I>when he wrote <I>Marriage Is a Canoe </I>if he is going to help the contest’s winners and find a way to love again. </P><P>In <I>Love Is a Canoe</I>, Ben Schrank delivers a smart, funny, romantic, and hugely satisfying novel about the fragility of marriage and the difficulty of repairing the damage when well-intentioned people forget how to be good to each other.