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
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

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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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.

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.

UrbanReader

A Perfect Book
Like other books around, Man in the Woods is the story of a killing and its aftermath. But here the suspense is terrific because the people and what they do and why they do it (or don't) is always completely true to life. The writing is beautiful (without being pretty) and the pacing is quick and the cop is amazing and, yeah, the dog rocks.

Jeff M. (Morris Plains, NJ)

Man in the Woods
A crime occurs very early in "Man in the Woods", but this is not a police procedural. In fact, the investigative works occurs mainly in the background and is presented in relatively short chapters throughout the book.

What this book is all about are relationships -- man/woman, mother/daughter, brother/sister and the key one -- man/dog and how the crime and its aftermath, along with other life issues (including the highly anticipated Y2K -- the book takes place in late 1999) impacts those relationships. Scott Spencer has a tremendous ability for character development (I had not read his previous novel, "A Ship Made of Paper" in which two of the characters first appeared) and his literary descriptions around even a simple event, like a winter sunset, are exceptional and very visual. Yet one of the most interesting characters is the hapless dog, Shep, who plays a pivotal role throughout and is key to the ending, which will likely leave many a reader speechless. I strongly recommend.

Beatrice D. (Floral Park, New York)

Man in the Woods
This is a well written fast-paced page turner revealing one man's quandaries as he grows from being an independent teenager into a many-talented man. Along the way he is confronted with people he meets and decisions to make which will affect his entire future.

Spencer's writing takes us along on Paul's journey to selfhood as he seeks to find the true essence and purpose of his life.

A really good read from first to last page

Lucy B. (Urbana, Ohio)

Paul's Undoing
Man in the Woods had my attention from beginning to end. It just goes to prove that it only takes a moment for something to happen to you that changes your life, in this case not for the better. Including the dog in the story provided some heartbreaking but also some lighter, tender moments. I have not read any other books by Scott Spencer, but I definitely will be reading others.

...22 more reader reviews

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More Information

More Information

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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