A Ship Made of Paper
By Scott Spencer
(Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060933425, 368pp.)
Publication Date: March 1, 2004
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No novelist alive knows the human heart better than Scott Spencer does. No one tells stories about human passion with greater urgency, insight, or sympathy. In "A Ship Made of Paper, " this artist of desire paints his most profound and compelling canvas yet.
Daniel Emerson lives with Kate Ellis and 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.
"A Ship Made of Paper" captures all the drama, nuance, and helpless intensity of sexual and romantic yearning, and it bears witness to the age-old conflict between the order of the human community and the disorder of desire.