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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (967 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Scott Spencer Narrator: Christopher Burns Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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One of the most acclaimed modern American novelists, Scott Spencer captures the intensity of human passion—and its capacity to both destroy and redeem—with unparalleled precision and insight. Now, in his most stunning novel yet, this wry, witty, and deeply sensitive writer returns to the territory of his New York Times bestseller A Ship Made of Paper in a gripping and provocative psychological thriller of morality, manhood, choice, and fate.

Paul has been on his own since he was a teenager, leading a life of freedom and independence, beholden to no one and nothing. Fearless, resolute, and guided by his own private moral code, he has hunted for food in Alaska, fought forest fires, and been deputized in a manhunt for a kidnapper in South Dakota. Once he thought his life would have no particular rhyme or reason, touched only by transient strangers. Then he meets the beautiful, intelligent, loving Kate Ellis and her daughter, Ruby, who offer 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 rejecting a job remodeling a luxurious Manhattan apartment, Paul stops to gather his thoughts at a state park just off the highway. Instead of peace, he finds a man savagely beating a dog, and in a few fateful moments Paul is plunged into a world of violence and onto a tumultuous journey of self-knowledge, guilt, and redemption.

With the psychological 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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Quotes & Awards

  • “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.”

    Francine Prose, New York Times bestselling author

  • “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, New York Times bestselling author

  • “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.”

    O, The Oprah Magazine

  • “This beautifully written novel is so much more than just a good read.”

    USA Today

  • “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.”

    Washington Post

  • “This is a book poised to take its place as an American classic.”

    Huffington Post

  • “[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

  • “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.”

    Philadelphia Inquirer

  • “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 (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)

  • Man in the Woods reveals the talent and confidence of a master storyteller 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.”

    Rudy Wurlitzer, author

  • A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Book of 2010
  • A 2010 Washington Post Best Book for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by T. Greenwood | 2/20/2014

    " I love Scott Spencer. Ever since I discovered "Endless Love" (not the movie -- which is terrible, but the book -- which is breathtaking), I have looked forward to reading every single thing this author writes. I can count the number of authors I feel this way about on one (well, maybe two) hands. And "Man in the Woods" does not disappoint. Spencer has an incredible way of making you fall in love with his characters. They are perfectly flawed...authentic, passionate, and mostly good. He does, in this novel, what I hoped to do in "Two Rivers"...that is, to make the reader understand how a good man can come to do a horrific thing. And he succeeds. Throughout the entirety of this novel, my heart aches for Paul and and all that he stands to lose if he is found out. And never mind the knockout ending. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Andy Gagnon | 2/5/2014

    " I was a bit disappointed in this book. It's pitched as a deep exploration of men's tendency towards violence. It's more of a muddle. It's a little like John Updike at moments, suburban Northeast situations, but the beauty is not there. Can't really recommend it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Doneen | 2/2/2014

    " Pretty sad when the only likeable and interesting character in the book is the dog. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Terry | 1/30/2014

    " An easy read. Lovely images. Disturbing premise. But don't we all have those tendencies to go over the edge of sanity when pushed to our limits? "

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About the Author
Author Scott Spencer

Scott Spencer was born in Washington, DC, raised in Chicago, and now lives in upstate New York. He is the author of numerous novels, including Endless Love, Waking the Dead, A Ship Made of Paper, and Willing. He has taught at the University of Iowa, Williams College, and Columbia University. His nonfiction has appeared in Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, O, The Oprah Magazine, Harper’s, and the New York Times.

About the Narrator

Christopher Burns has been a news executive and an independent consultant to government and the private sector for thirty years, advising clients on emerging information management technologies and the evolution of the information economy. He is also an acclaimed author who has written several novels, including Island Wilderness, In Sorrow All Our Days, and Imagining Early Years of Martha’s Vineyard, which won an honorable mention for fiction in the annual IPPY awards of 2005. He has also edited two poetry anthologies and his most recent work, Vietnam Album, is a collection of hundreds of previously unpublished photographs, extensive excerpts from diaries captured during the war, and firsthand accounts from soldiers.