I am very ambivalent about this book. As a story about the struggle of two couples and an affair, with other issues interwoven, it was very well done. But the whole black/white issue that he focuses on made me kind of angry. Its characters were stereotypical; and it over-emphasized the racial issue. If the author hadn't made such a big deal about the whole black/white thing, I would have liked it better. As a writer, we are always told to "show don't tell", and there was too much TELLING.
An engaging, sorrowful, and at the same time, uplifting novel of passion, romantic longing, race, class, family responsibilities, and the riveting anxieties of a couple embroiled in a relationship that cannot end well.
Scott Spencer has done a great job with this book. Serious romance would never be my top choice of reading material, but A Ship Made of Paper was nominated for a National Book Award, so I just had to read it. And while I may be a bit cynical when it comes to "uncontrollable desire," I believe that Scott Spencer believes in star-struck lovers, and he can paint a picture of it that is compelling and realistic. This book is a love story- while there may be other issues involved, this is basically a romantic's book.
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.
An interesting book (and National Book Club Award finalist)that deals with a passionate and consuming clandestine bi-racial affair. A good read although I was feeling a little impatient with the main character seemingly bent on destruction by the end.