Man in the Woods: Book summary and reviews of Man in the Woods by Scott Spencer

Man in the Woods

By Scott Spencer

Man in the Woods
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  • Published in USA  Sep 2010,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

Paul has been on his own since he was a teenager. He has hunted for food in Alaska, fought forest fires, been deputized in a manhunt for a kidnapper in South Dakota. Once he thought his life would have no particular rhyme nor reason, touched only by transient strangers. Then he met the beautiful, intelligent, loving Kate and her daughter, Ruby, who offered order and stability. But Paul is a man of deep convictions, and the compromises we all make to get along in the world elude him.

On his way home after getting fired from his job remodeling a luxurious Manhattan apartment, Paul stops off at a camp grounds along the highway to gather his thoughts. Instead of peace, he finds a man savagely beating his dog, forcing Paul to make a fateful decision that will change everything.

With the psychologically acuity and razor-sharp prose for which he has been celebrated, award-winning, bestselling novelist Scott Spencer once again takes us on an unforgettable journey of manhood lost and found.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. The depth of the characters, the questions they ask and the challenge they confront stay with the reader long after the conclusion." - Kirkus

"Spencer, a deft explorer of obsessive love and violence, confronts the consequences of doing wrong for all the right reasons in his exquisite latest." - Publishers Weekly

"Starred Review. Spencer, a master of piercing insight and letter-perfect prose, tantalizes to the last climactic sentence of this compelling exploration of the wages of guilt." - Booklist

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by William B. (East Peoria, IL)
Man's Best Friend
Spencer is always a dependable read. His latest is no exception. The ambiguous ending will be great for book club discussions. The author's observations and wit, his compassion are two of my favorite things about his writing. I enjoyed the plots central conflict because I'm afraid I would have acted the same as the protagonist.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Shawna L. (Idaho Falls, Idaho)
Man in the Woods by Scott Spencer
The acclaimed author of 'Endless Love' and 'A Ship Made of Paper' delivers a gripping and provocative psychological thriller of morality and manhood, choice and fate. Paul has been on his own since he was a teenager. He has done it all, hunted for food in Alaska, fought forest fires, and been deputized in a manhunt for a kidnapper in South Dakota. He has often thought his life had no particular rhyme nor reason, touched only by transient strangers. Then he meets the beautiful, intelligent, loving Kate and her daughter, Ruby, who offer order and stability to his world. But Paul is a man of deep convictions, and the compromises we all make to get along in the world elude him. On his way home after getting fired from his job remodeling a luxurious Manhattan apartment, Paul stops off at a camp grounds along the highway to gather his thoughts. Instead of peace, he finds a man savagely beating his dog, forcing Paul to make a fateful decision that will change everything.

With the psychological acuity and razor-sharp prose for which he has been celebrated. Scott Spence takes us on an unforgettable journey of manhood lost, and found.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Nicole B. (New York, New York)
As a first-timer with this author I was thoroughly impressed...
This was my first foray into Scott Spencer and I was really impressed with the strength and finesse of the writing that was on display in each page of this novel. Amazingly nuanced characterizations, and the taut and suspenseful plot examining morality, anger, impulse decisions and faith kept me riveted throughout. Scot deftly examines the intricate decisions, responsibilities and compromises which comprise family life and the lengths to which people will go when comfort and security are threatened. The intense psychological suspense was hard to bear (in the best way!) and I read the book with the distractingly delicious feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Cathy R. (Scottsdale, AZ)
God or fate?
Man in the Woods is a well-written story involving God and/or fate - the characters are developed through their morality and their dialogue is at times inspiring or heartwarming but always deep and articulate. I loved the writing style of the author, his poetic descriptions and bits of humor. The story is thought provoking in the simplest of ways - how our lives change by the smallest decisions we make daily.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Connie H. (Evanston, IL)
What Makes the Man?
Paul, a self sufficient artist, and Kate, a Christian author and inspirational speaker, seem to complete one another and provide a refuge for Kate’s daughter Ruby. But a moment of crisis threatens their happiness. Scott Spencer imagines authentic characters reacting to a disastrous moment of violence. Spencer’s writing is visceral, sensitive and thought provoking.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Bill L. (Hilliard, OH)
Man in the Woods
Overall, I really liked Man in the Woods. It started out strong, fell a little flat in the middle & came back strong in the end. It's a good book that I enjoyed but wish it would have had more bite. I read more mystery novels so it was a little more difficult to stay involved in the plot. If Mr Spencer has a follow up to this book, I would be interested in following the story. It did leave me wanting more.

...22 more reader reviews

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Scott Spencer is the author of nine previous novels, including Endless Love, which has been translated into fourteen languages and has sold more than two million copies. His other novels include The Rich Man's Tale, Men in Black, A Ship Made of Paper, and Waking the Dead, which was made into a movie produced by Jody Foster starring Jennifer Connelly and Billy Crudup. He has written for Rolling Stone, the New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ, and Harper's, and has taught fiction writing at Columbia University, the University of Iowa, and Williams College. He lives in Rhinebeck, New York.

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