Waking the Dead

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Fielding Price keeps seeing Sarah everywhere--did she survive the car bombing, or is he losing his mind?
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Overview

Fielding Price keeps seeing Sarah everywhere--did she survive the car bombing, or is he losing his mind?
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Fielding Pierce has lived his life accord ing to a strict master plan that should guarantee him a shot at Congress be fore he turns 40. When a freespirited young woman falls in love with him, he is astounded at his unexpected luck. But then she is murdered while at tempting to aid Chilean rebels, and Pierce throws himself back into politics with manic determination. As election day approaches, it becomes increasing ly clear that his obsession with her me mory may scuttle his campaign and ruin his life. Spencer's new novel, like his bestselling Endless Love, examines the place of intense romantic commitment in the modern world. But while the ear lier novel skillfully danced around the pitfalls of sentimental cliche, this one jumps in with both feet. Waking the Dead is about as profound as a made- for-TV movie, and of similar literary merit. Edward B. St. John, Loyola Marymount Univ. Lib., Los Angeles
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425169629
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/1/2000
  • Edition description: BERKLEY TR
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 5.26 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Spencer
Scott Spencer once defined a novelist as "someone who sits around in his underwear all day, trying not to smoke." For Spencer, not smoking has been a productive occupation, with his novels Endless Love and A Ship Made of Paper both selected as contenders for the National Book Award.

Biography

Scott Spencer once defined a novelist as "someone who sits around in his underwear all day, trying not to smoke." For Spencer, not smoking has been a productive occupation. His best-known novel, Endless Love, sold more than 2 million copies and has been translated into 20 languages. The story of teenage love and obsession has drawn high praise from other novelists, including Anne Tyler and Michael Ondaatje. Joyce Carol Oates wrote, "No description of Endless Love can do justice to the rich, startling and always intelligent tenor of [Spencer's] prose."

Less fortunately for Spencer, Endless Love also attracted the attention of Franco Zeffirelli, who directed a disastrous Brooke Shields vehicle based on the book (the 1981 movie periodically turns up on critics' lists of the worst movies of all time). But while Endless Love was, as Jonathan Lethem opined in Salon, a good book overshadowed by a bad movie, Spencer's next novel, about a political candidate haunted by the memory of his late fiancée, got an actual boost from Hollywood. After Keith Gordon filmed Waking the Dead in 1999 with Billy Crudup and Jennifer Connelly in the lead roles, the book was reissued, gaining thousands of new readers. As Spencer notes in an interview on his publisher's web site, "The best thing about having a movie made of your novel is that more people read the book."

Spencer published several books between the first edition of Waking the Dead and its reissue, including Men in Black, the tale of a literary novelist whose pseudonymous hackwork earns him sudden fame and fortune, and The Rich Man's Table, the fictional memoir of a Dylan-like folk singer's illegitimate son. The Los Angeles Times Book Review called Men in Black "the Cadillac of novels -- every word vibrating with a kind of shameless big-boned American grace."

With his recent novel A Ship Made of Paper, Spencer returns to his earlier themes: romantic obsession and overpowering desire. "What makes this brave, dazzling novel so impossible to put down is the urgency with which it makes you care about what happens to its characters: male and female, black and white, young and old," wrote Francine Prose. "Scott Spencer has a genius for observing dramatic everyday moments when the self crashes into the barriers of class and race and culture, together with infinite compassion for the wayward impulse that turns human beings into fanatics willing to sacrifice everything on the altar of romantic love."

Critics have credited Spencer with an ambitious prose style and a keen grasp of contemporary culture, but what distinguishes his work most is his ability to tap into the intense currents of emotion beneath the surface of domestic life. As New York magazine noted, "In a literary age marked by cool, cerebral fiction, Spencer writes from the heart."

Good To Know

In our interview, Spencer revealed his love for all types of music. "My daughter, son, and I are always making mix tapes for each other, sharing the music we love," Spencer shares. "I have no musical talent, but music is a part of nearly every day. I still love the music I grew up with -- from Elvis to Motown to Otis Redding -- but as I grow older I find more and more music to love. I have major CD storage issues."

Spencer has taught fiction writing at Columbia University and the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop. He has written for The New York Times, Esquire, The Nation, GQ, and Rolling Stone, among other publications.

The film version of Endless Love, directed by Franco Zeffirelli, was (as TV Guide put it) "a notorious disaster," but it marked the film debut of three future stars: Tom Cruise, James Spader, and Jami Gertz. The movie's theme song won Lionel Ritchie an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

A Ship Made of Paper is the fourth novel of Spencer's that uses Leyden, New York as a backdrop.

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    1. Hometown:
      Rhinebeck, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 1, 1945
    2. Place of Birth:
      Washington, D.C.
    1. Education:
      B. A., University of Wisconsin, 1969

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2002

    movie makes more sense

    The book is very dramatic, but the story makes more sense if you watch the movie. It's an excellent story overall

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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