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Extended Audio Sample Man in the Woods: A Novel Audiobook, by Scott Spencer Click for printable size audiobook cover
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: September 2010 ISBN: 9780062047168
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“A smart, haunting thriller with bass reverb and a pounding heart.”
—Jayne Anne Phillips, author of the National Book Award finalist Lark and Termite

Scott Spencer, the acclaimed author of Endless Love and A Ship Made of Paper, reaffirms his storytelling mastery with Man in the Woods—a gripping psychological thriller about a carpenter at loose ends and the crime of passion that radically reorders his world. Rudy Wurlitzer lauds Man in the Woods as a stunning work that offers “heartbreaking insights into the dark frailties of human nature,” and which he calls, “a page turner from beginning to end.” And New York Times bestselling author Francine Prose hails its achievement, writing, “In this brilliant novel, Scott Spencer further expands his range.”

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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 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 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 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 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? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Adam Bricker | 1/28/2014

    " I received this book as part of a giveaway on Facebook and I'm really glad I did. It's sort of an updated Tell-Tale Heart. I thought it was well written and dramatic. During my first sitting I just intended to read a few pages, but about an hour later I was 72 pages in and well behind on the tasks I had planned for the day. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 JD | 1/24/2014

    " The book was a little slow moving but a very compelling storyline. The story is about how a single act of violence can go horribly wrong (a fight in the woods with a stranger resulting in the stranger's death)and alter the lives of the person and everyone close to him. The dialogue between the characters felt authentic, a real gift of Scott Spencer. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tanya | 1/18/2014

    " It was an alright book but really never told what happened...did he get caught in the end or was that just a mirage at the end? The flickering glass of red and blue.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jayne | 1/14/2014

    " I wished I could have picked this for my book club as it really warrants discussion!! Excellent writing--so good I am going to look for his other books. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Erin Bunton | 1/11/2014

    " I bought this book because I saw it on some list of books by great authors, or something like that. I'm maybe 1/4 of the way through, and no amount of boredom can convince me that resuming reading is a good idea. I'm extremely turned off by violence, and just can't seem to get into this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nancy | 1/10/2014

    " Yes, yes...I had 4 days off and read 3 books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 12/20/2013

    " Great writing, not necessarily my type of book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 12/16/2013

    " It was a good book with a sad ending. I kept on wishing that the story could end in a different way then it had to. Scott Spencer is an amazing writer and I'm glad I picked up this book randomly at the library. I will read more of his novels in the future. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Donna | 11/27/2013

    " Spencer has a way with words, but needs an editor. Another scatter-shot story that feels like a bunch of disparate ideas strung together. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Eileen | 11/23/2013

    " I thought it was average. I thought parts of it were a little preachy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ellen | 11/11/2013

    " Excellent writing and well drawn characters. Great story about a man caught in an unexpected situation, his reactions and their consequences on his life and the lives of others. One of the best I've read in a long time! Would be excellent for discussion. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ms Athos | 10/7/2013

    " This is the 2nd Scott Spencer book I've read. He is an excellent author who somehow is able to write a book about terrible life-changing events that are impossible to put down. I feel drained emotionally yet somehow spirtually uplifted. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cody Roche | 2/26/2013

    " I wanted to like this book more. It's a good story, but VERY frustrating. The story and details were great, but the issues were related to the critical plot details. Virtually all of the key events seemed forced with characters behaving in ways that didn't make sense. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lesley | 10/23/2012

    " I wasn't disappointed at all. Completely different storyline from A Ship Made of Paper, but similar narrative tension and lovely writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan Williamson | 9/25/2012

    " I really enjoyed this book, it held me throughout. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 7/15/2012

    " This book has an interesting premise but I felt that the writing could have been better. It's an okay book but not one that I would read again, nor one that I would recommend. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betsy | 6/10/2012

    " One that will be hard to forget. I was sorry to get to the end for more than one reason. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessica | 2/21/2012

    " 80 pages in and I'm bored. Putting this one down now. On to the next! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Annette | 6/9/2011

    " A very thought provoking book with beautifully rendered characters and lots of twists and turns. I got this book after hearing an interview with the author on Fresh Air with Terry Gross and read it in two days. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kris | 2/13/2011

    " Two and a half stars would be my rating. Some outstanding descriptive writing, but poorly developed characters, too many extraneous subplots and secondary characters, and a cop-out ending ruined a very interesting premise. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kristen | 1/2/2011

    " a waste. so many movies and books have been done on this theme....acccidental murder and guilt and on going fear. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lori | 11/22/2010

    " took awhile to finish, it got so bogged down with minute details that didn't seem to have anything to do with the story.too bad he didn't get away with it "

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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.