December 1969 Indie Next List
“This is one of the most perfectly crafted novels I have read this year. A good man accidentally kills a stranger and attempts to hide from the consequences, but his guilt disrupts the lives of those he loves and calls into question their faith and trust. Spencer's writing is flawless, and you will stop often to reread many of his beautiful passages.”
— Terry Whittaker, Viewpoint of Columbus, Columbus, IN
A man, a woman, a child, and an unforgettable dog combine forces in this gripping and surprising psychological thriller, the most stunning novel yet from Scott Spencernamed one of Publishers Weeklys Top Ten Books of 2010.
Can we ever get away with murder? Are there secrets that cannot remain hidden no matter how deeply we try to bury them? And do the things we hide control our destinies even more than the things we choose to reveal?
Paul Phillips has been on his own since he was a teenager, leading a life of freedom and independence, beholden to no one and nothing. Once he thought his life would have no particular rhyme or reason, touched only by transient strangers. Then he met the beautiful, intelligent, loving Kate Ellis, who offered order and constancy. 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 a particularly trying day, Paul discovers a man beating a dog, and in a few fateful moments is plunged into a world of violence and onto a tumultuous journey of self-knowledge, guilt, and redemption.
About the Author
Scott Spencer is the author of nine previous novels, including A Ship Made of Paper, Waking the Dead, and the international bestseller Endless Love. He has written for Rolling Stone, the New York Times, The New Yorker, GQ, and Harper's, and has taught writing at Columbia University, the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, Williams College, and for the Bard Prison Initiative. He lives in Rhinebeck, New York.
“We don’t often encounter novels that combine shrewd plotting, strong characters and gorgeous writing, but Scott Spencer’s “Man in the Woods” does precisely that.”
“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)
“[A] compelling setup and stunning conclusion...The depth of the characters, the questions they ask and the challenge they confront stay with the reader long after the conclusion.”
-Kirkus Reviews (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 (starred review)
“This is a book poised to take its place as an American classic.”
“Spencer has shown a powerful understanding of the price of passion. In this one, he explores the even more treacherous terrain of guilt, expiation, and longed-for salvation...”
“[Spencer] writes love stories with such beauty that you want to savor every surprising phrase, but his intense, intriguing plots propel you to race along the pages. He does it again in his new book, a complex novel... fresh, and compelling.”
-Cleveland Plain Dealer
“This beautifully written novel is so much more than just a good read.”
“The novel is at its most compelling as it traces the evolution of Paul’s inner turmoil... the precision of Spencer’s eye for vibrant similes remains a pleasure throughout...”
“MAN IN THE WOODS reveals the talent and confidence of a master story teller at the top of his game....Scott Spencer holds the reader to his terrifying account every step of the way. A page turner from beginning to end.”
“A smart, haunting thriller with bass reverb and a pounding heart....Spencer transforms an eight thousand dollar gambling debt and a dog with two names into an enthralling literary ride....Spencer is an American master.”
-Jayne Anne Phillips, author of the National Book Award finalist LARK AND TERMITE
“In this brilliant novel, Scott Spencer further expands his range to embrace our relations with animals—with the loyal pets that consent to share our domestic lives, and with the darker, more alarming beasts that lurk within even the most compassionate and conscious human beings.”