Canoeing with Jose (Paperback)
The first time journalist Jon Lurie meets Jos Perez, the smart, angry, fifteen-year-old Lakota-Puerto Rican draws blood. Five years later, both men are floundering. Lurie, now in his thirties, is newly divorced, depressed, and self-medicating. Jos is embedded in a haze of women and street feuds. Both lack a meaningful connection to their cultural roots: Lurie feels an absence of identity as the son of a Holocaust survivor who is reluctant to talk about her experience, and for Jos , communal history has been obliterated by centuries of oppression.
Then Lurie hits upon a plan to save them. After years of admiring the journey described in Eric Arnold Sevareid's 1935 classic account, Canoeing with the Cree, Lurie invites Jos to join him in retracing Sevareid's route and embarking on a mythic two thousand-mile paddle from Breckenridge, Minnesota, to the Hudson Bay.
Faced with plagues of mosquitoes, extreme weather, suspicious law enforcement officers, tricky border crossings, and Jos 's preference for Kanye West over the great outdoors, the journey becomes an odyssey of self-discovery. Acknowledging the erased native histories that Sevareid's prejudicial account could not perceive, and written in gritty, honest prose, Canoeing with Jos is a remarkable journey.