Man in the Woods

Man in the Woods MOBI ✓ Man in eBook Á


Man in the Woods ➹ [Download] ➵ Man in the Woods By Scott Spencer ➼ – Polishdarling.co.uk A smart, haunting thriller with bass reverb and a pounding heart Jayne Anne Phillips, author of the National Book Award finalist Lark and TermiteScott Spencer, the acclaimed author of Endless Love and A smart, haunting thriller with bass reverb and a pounding heart Jayne Anne Phillips, author of the National Man in eBook Á Book Award finalist Lark and TermiteScott 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.

    Man in the Woods MOBI ✓ Man in eBook Á 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."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • Man in the Woods
  • Scott Spencer
  • English
  • 11 January 2020
  • 0061466557

About the Author: Scott Spencer

Scott Spencer b is the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of ten novels, including Endless Love and A Man in eBook Á Ship Made of Paper, both of which have been nominated for the National Book Award Two of his books, Endless Love and Waking the Dead, have been adapted into filmsHe has taught at Columbia University, the University of Iowa, and Williams College, and Bard College s Bard Prison Initiative Spencer is an alumnus of Roosevelt University In , he was the recipient of a John S Guggenheim Fellowship For the past twenty years, he has lived in a small town in upstate New York Spencer has also worked as a journalist He has published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Harpers Magazine, GQ, O, The Oprah Magazine, and he is a regular contributor to Rolling Stone.



10 thoughts on “Man in the Woods

  1. karen karen says:

    i am having difficulty finding an angle to approach this book report i felt very medium about this book, and i can t understand why.this is a grown up book by which i think i mean staid there is nothing funny in this book there is nothing surprising, or scary, or particularly dark it does its business quietly and competently, but there is no real oomph to it i really felt like it was one of those procedural shows i have on in the background while i chop vegetables or fold laundry.it to i am having difficulty finding an angle to approach this book report i felt very medium about this book, and i can t understand why.this is a grown up book by which i think i mean staid there is nothing funny in this book there is nothing surprising, or scary, or particularly dark it does its business quietly and competently, but there is no real oomph to it i really felt like it was one of those procedural shows i have on in the background while i chop vegetables or fold laundry.it told its story and then it left me and went about its business, and i don t think i had any reaction to it at all, like a wednesday afternoon at its heart, it is an ethical dilemma if a good man accidentally kills a bad man in the forest, does it make a sound the good man in question is a carpenter like jesus named paul because we are not finished with biblical allusions, not yet who has the love of a good woman and her child, and in every other situation, is self sacrificing and just goes with the flow of life, not causing any ripples the bad man is running from gambling debts, conning women and using a series of false identities to cover his tracks as he makes his way across the country he has stolen a dog from one of his victims, and his mistreatment of it is what causes the fight that leaves him dead and paul struggling to justify why he is not going to turn himself in but he does take the dog and names him shep yeah, like shepherd religion s role in the modern life is a huge part of this book kate, paul s girlfriend, has made a name for herself as a recovering alcoholic, born again christian writer and speaker, but the kind of christian who dispenses with inconvenient elements of the religion and has fulfilling intercourse with her boyfriend and makes a ton of money talking about her spiritual journey in person and on the radio what god wants expects of man is considered, religious atrocities invoked, there are superstitions and rituals and a literal snake invades what seems to be paradise add to this mix a sensitive and disturbed but possibly visionary child, and call it a book.i don t know this is such an adolescent comment, but it can t be helped these characters were annoying i know but paul s across the board except for that one splinter goodness and kate s bitchy jealousy, and paul s sister s overall disapproval of all things and misplaced protection of her husband and general judginess is irritating the female characters, specifically, were all pretty shady with their public vs private faces except for the stereotypical friendly lesbian carpenter i just didn t really care about what happened to them, good or bad and i wasn t really interested in the should good people be allowed to get away with bad things argument but then, i would be a terrible god i don t think anyone should ever be allowed to get away with anything especially litterbugs there is a special place in my hell for themand that s what i have a meh review for a meh book.i guarantee this review will bore those of you who only like me for my porny reviews sorry, friendsthe writing is solid, but i didn t really walk away from this book with anythingthan i have read another book tepid reading makes for boring book reports i sorry.come to my blog

  2. Will Byrnes Will Byrnes says:

    It is 1999 and the terror of Y2K is on the horizon Paul is a carpenter, capable, reserved, who is living in a New York suburb with Kate, a recovering alcoholic, recent convert to Christianity and newly published author of a best seller about her recovery and conversion They have a lovely life together, sexual, open, satisfying, and with the success of her book, comfortable But when Paul, a good man, out in the park one day, interferes with a swindler who is beating his dog, things get out of It is 1999 and the terror of Y2K is on the horizon Paul is a carpenter, capable, reserved, who is living in a New York suburb with Kate, a recovering alcoholic, recent convert to Christianity and newly published author of a best seller about her recovery and conversion They have a lovely life together, sexual, open, satisfying, and with the success of her book, comfortable But when Paul, a good man, out in the park one day, interferes with a swindler who is beating his dog, things get out of hand and an inner rage takes over Paul kills the man He struggles to cope with his guilt about the act, with his need to confess his crime Man in the Woods is the story of how Paul and Kate cope with the aftermath of that event, how they try to do good, how they struggle with a need for honesty, how they try to figure out what God wants of and for them, and if there is a god at all Both Kate and Paul try to fill the gaps created by losses in their lives She finds comfort in religion He takes comfort in his craft, but still longs for the father he lost long ago Will the darkness of his act engulf them and blot out the good they both do in the world There are many religious references in the story Aside from Kate s front and center religiosity, there is her daughter Ruby seeing angel like visions, a dog named Shep that may be shepherding Paul in a particular direction A family member tells of Maronite Christians committing atrocities in the name of the Virgin Mary AA membership brings in plenty of references to a Higher Power Frequent deer sightings feel like spiritual tones as well, and there is serpent to boot Paul and Kate are relatable characters One can understand how they feel, why they feel that way, and one can empathize with their struggles Their core event may exceed our quotidian experiences, but they wrestle with the same issues that many of us also confront That said, I would have liked a bitof Paul and Kate s back story While I thought their characters were well developed, I felt that they could have been made even richer withbackground Also I thought there might have been a bit too much ink dedicated to the swindler who is killed Man in the Woods is a moving novel, one whose characters will draw you in, one that deals with adult themes and does it with top notch literary style

  3. Bradley Bradley says:

    Really wasn t too happy with this book After The Event in the woods,I was preparing for a cat and mouse game between police and Paul, girlfriend and Paul, anyone and Paul It just went nowhere Some reviewers tossed this book on a pedestal Throughout the entire novel, I was questioning why I didn t care about the characters I didn t care about the plot I didn t care about anything I was almost 3 4 of the way in when I realized this book was going nowhere I thought I better finish it Ju Really wasn t too happy with this book After The Event in the woods,I was preparing for a cat and mouse game between police and Paul, girlfriend and Paul, anyone and Paul It just went nowhere Some reviewers tossed this book on a pedestal Throughout the entire novel, I was questioning why I didn t care about the characters I didn t care about the plot I didn t care about anything I was almost 3 4 of the way in when I realized this book was going nowhere I thought I better finish it Just a warning, there are a lot of better books out there to read I m sorry that I wasted my time on this one

  4. Bonnie Brody Bonnie Brody says:

    Scott Spencer s Man in the Woods is a novel that chronicles the life of Paul Phillips, a man who has been on his own since he was sixteen years old Paul is both a simple and a complex man simple because he has relied on good luck and good looks to open many doors, and complicated because he is an artisan of deep convictions that he is unwilling to compromise He is not a man to say very much but a lot goes on in his mind that does not come out in words He creates beautiful furniture, crafts, Scott Spencer s Man in the Woods is a novel that chronicles the life of Paul Phillips, a man who has been on his own since he was sixteen years old Paul is both a simple and a complex man simple because he has relied on good luck and good looks to open many doors, and complicated because he is an artisan of deep convictions that he is unwilling to compromise He is not a man to say very much but a lot goes on in his mind that does not come out in words He creates beautiful furniture, crafts, and remodels with wood Each type of wood speaks to him in its own way He has never given a lot of thought to his life Where he is and what he s doing have a way of simply falling into place He has traveled around a lot, living in Alaska, South Dakota, Colorado and currently in rural New York State.As the book opens, Paul is living with Kate Ellis, a character from Scott Spencer s previous book, A Ship Made of Paper Kate has become quite famous recently for her book, Prays Well With Others She is also sought after for speaking engagements and radio and television appearances Her book is a best seller and Kate considers herself a liberal Christian who believes deeply in the power of Christ and the lord She is also a very sensual woman and her love for Paul is unconditional and unwavering She wishes Paul would marry her but he seems to have an aversion to cementing the relationship though it is monogamous and committed Kate s book and talks are about the day to day things in her life that she believes make her an every woman and also bring her closer to God She is raising a daughter, Ruby, as a single mother with a mostly absentee father Paul s relationship with Ruby is good though he does not try to substitute as her dad.As the book opens, Paul has gone to see about work in Manhattan and is not thrilled about the quality of the job he is being asked to do He is reticent to accept the contract Money does not play a huge part in his life though he makesthan enough to get by With Kate s success, money is the very least of his problems and Kate is happy enough to support them both On his way back home, he stops in a park near Tarrytown to sit and think, to ponder his life and his reasons for being so strongly opposed to the possibility of the work he was just offered Though Paul thinks he is alone, he soon realizes that there is someone else close by, a man and his dog.The man with the dog is Will Claff, though that is not the name he goes by any He has traveled from his home city of Los Angeles around the country, changing his name in each place he stops His modus operandi is that he usually meets a woman who takes pity on him and will put him up for a while Will tells the woman that he has traveled to her community to take a job but the person who offered him the job committed suicide right before Will arrived Thus, he is without work and without means The truth is that Will has about five thousand dollars in gambling debts and he is paranoid that the people he owes money to are out to get him and surely will kill him once he s found.Will has just finished jogging, and as the paths of these two men cross, Paul witnesses Will being cruelly sadistic to his dog This is not an act that Paul can tolerate and, impulsively, he acts in a way that will change his life forever This can be a theme in Spencer s books the idea of one impulsive act forever creating a changed and damaged life and is observed in A Ship Made of Paper and Endless Love.From this day onward, Paul wonders about himself, about his core essence and how civilized he truly is or isn t He questions whether he is feral, an animal at the core and not a good man The book is beautifully written and dramatically unfolds It is deep, thrilling, and unbearably difficult to read at times Spencer has created a gem, a modern look at good and evil While he provides the questions, the answers and judgments rest in the hands of the reader

  5. Bandit Bandit says:

    Quite randomly my recent audio book selections have had a lot to do with faith But also, in this case, meaning and justice I ve recently learned the expression condign justice from another audio book actually, took a while to figure out the spelling , the subject of it has fascinated me long before this vocabulary expansion And so if a good man commits one terrible wrong although I m sure some would find it practically justifiable under the circumstances and a great many good deedswhat Quite randomly my recent audio book selections have had a lot to do with faith But also, in this case, meaning and justice I ve recently learned the expression condign justice from another audio book actually, took a while to figure out the spelling , the subject of it has fascinated me long before this vocabulary expansion And so if a good man commits one terrible wrong although I m sure some would find it practically justifiable under the circumstances and a great many good deedswhat is just What is the moral flexibility on murder orappropriately manslaughter Like all the best books this one doesn t merely entertain, it also makes you think It s a book about a crime, but not a crime book In a way of Crime and Punishment, this deals with repercussions of a crime How easy it is for a life to change, how one can enter the woods a happy man with much going on and leave the woods a murderer, oppressed by guilt and paralyzed by fear How much one forgiveness and understanding one can hope for from their loves ones How much one might do to try to achieve some sort of balance again I enjoyed this book very much, wasn t quite sure how the author was going to handle the ending, but I see why he did what he did The characters were great, complex, engaging, compelling in their search for grace, the narrative moved along with ease and confidence The audio reader did a terrific job, I haven t listened to him before, it was a treat And always a pleasure to discover a new author, Man in the Woods being a very auspicious introduction Recommended

  6. Cathy Cathy says:

    make up your mind, do you want to talk about love, religion, family, murder, conscience, what the whole mystery thing, whodunit didn t add up and didn t make sense not a good read

  7. Jim Thomsen Jim Thomsen says:

    While not categorized as a crime novel, Scott Spencer s Man In The Woods is populated by characters who dwell in souls slowly corroded by crime compounded by time At its troubled heart lies a simple yet complicated question Is it really better to get away with murder The irony in whatever the answer may be is that the murder in this book isn t really murder but, after a series of decisions that the principal characters find at first impossible to live with, and then horribly easier to While not categorized as a crime novel, Scott Spencer s Man In The Woods is populated by characters who dwell in souls slowly corroded by crime compounded by time At its troubled heart lies a simple yet complicated question Is it really better to get away with murder The irony in whatever the answer may be is that the murder in this book isn t really murder but, after a series of decisions that the principal characters find at first impossible to live with, and then horribly easier to reconcile, it sure as hell LOOKS like murder Spencer, a literary novelist who specializes in feelings too impossible to contain in the socially acceptable ways, is less interested in tracking the crime than he is in tracking the erratic travels of the hearts, minds and souls of his decent but flawed characters With tender insight and dialogue that artfully dances around the problem, Spencer shows how deeply we can fool ourselves into thinking we can stuff the bad stuff too big to contain into trunks of memory and drop them deep into the well of our souls We all play games with ourselves and our secrets, no matter how good we think and know ourselves to be, and even when we win or think we win we really lose Because those secrets change us, and rarely for the better, even when we make ourselves believe they haven t.And nowhere is this hard truthpowerfully in evidence than in the final pages of man In The Woods, with a gut punch of an ending that makes perfect sense and carries with it, one suspects, the potential for aperfect peace for the people of the story.This is a wonderful book, and another triumph for Spencer, in his ninth novel over a 34 year career I m dinging it a star only because he starts down the road of this story with procedural POVs from the perspectives of others connected to the death and then mysteriously abandons them One, involving a likely suspect, is strangely shoehorned into the final act, and I found myself wishing he d been introduced earlier and that his story had continued later It makes for a slightly uneven reading experience On the whole, however, Man In The Woods is highly recommended, not just for lovers of literary fiction, but for genre crime readers who like a little or a lot of thoughtfulness with their thrills

  8. Delaney Diamond Delaney Diamond says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here This book had me worried right up until the very end Paul accidentally kills a man in the woods on his way home one evening The guy had it coming, though He was viciously abusing a dog Yes, I realize that s not enough of a reason to kill someone I cringed when I read those passages it was so graphic.Paul never gets over the fact that he s done something so horrible It eats at him Kate, his partner, is so in love with him and so desperate to keep the bit of happiness she has with him th This book had me worried right up until the very end Paul accidentally kills a man in the woods on his way home one evening The guy had it coming, though He was viciously abusing a dog Yes, I realize that s not enough of a reason to kill someone I cringed when I read those passages it was so graphic.Paul never gets over the fact that he s done something so horrible It eats at him Kate, his partner, is so in love with him and so desperate to keep the bit of happiness she has with him that she becomes an accomplice after the fact.As the story unfolds, you experience the viewpoints of a number of the book s characters the police investigating the murder, Kate and her success as a writer radio personality, the landlord of the victim All the while, wondering if Paul will get away with it because he s really not a bad person The end draws near, and I think, Yes, he got away with it, and they ll move overseas and leave their problems behind. As a romance writer, I wanted these two to have a happy ending, even though I knew Paul should have gone to the police from the beginning and explained what happened A happy ending was not to be Spencer ripped the rug from under me at the last minute, and my heart plummeted when the police arrived.There were times I felt the book slowed too much for my taste If you re looking for constant excitement, it s not a book for you However, overall, I felt it was a good read Spencer has a beautiful way with words that draws you in and creates vivid pictures in your mind I enjoyed the book so much I picked up the one published before it, A Ship Made of Paper. I can t wait to see what he does in this one

  9. Sherry Sherry says:

    This book is a good one to discuss with a friend or in a book club There is a lot to talk about and the writing is beautiful I admire the literary value, although I do not care for the atmosphere Spencer creates in this book Spencer wrote some beautiful passages that give very good insight into the interior life of his characters The plot broods along, heading to its logical end The mood reminds me of sepia photos of a cold autumn dusk Spencer touches on themes that have to do with faith, This book is a good one to discuss with a friend or in a book club There is a lot to talk about and the writing is beautiful I admire the literary value, although I do not care for the atmosphere Spencer creates in this book Spencer wrote some beautiful passages that give very good insight into the interior life of his characters The plot broods along, heading to its logical end The mood reminds me of sepia photos of a cold autumn dusk Spencer touches on themes that have to do with faith, destiny, predisposition, grace, mercy, penance and justice The beauty of the writing is that although Spencer touches on so many heavy concepts the novel doesn t get bogged down with diatribes or metaphysical discourse The concepts are a part of the characters personality, giving insight as to who they are and how they view themselves in this world I really can t talk about it anywithout giving plot points away

  10. Michelle Michelle says:

    Scott Spencer is an amazing writer, no doubt about it I love the style of his prose succinct, clever and often jaw droppingly precise His words evoke an almost physical reaction You can feel cold where there is cold, warmth where there is warmth Despite this, Man in the Woods, about an otherwise good man who does a terrible thing, was at times slow for me I understood what the author was trying to do, show the gray areas of human behavior and, let s be honest, a gray kind of character i Scott Spencer is an amazing writer, no doubt about it I love the style of his prose succinct, clever and often jaw droppingly precise His words evoke an almost physical reaction You can feel cold where there is cold, warmth where there is warmth Despite this, Man in the Woods, about an otherwise good man who does a terrible thing, was at times slow for me I understood what the author was trying to do, show the gray areas of human behavior and, let s be honest, a gray kind of character isinteresting to read but at times the plot dragged It felt like most of the story happened at the very start of the book and at the very end Several of the characters felt ancillary That said, you really can t go wrong with this caliber of writing and the last quarter conclusion was extremely compelling

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10 thoughts on “Man in the Woods

  1. karen karen says:

    i am having difficulty finding an angle to approach this book report i felt very medium about this book, and i can t understand why.this is a grown up book by which i think i mean staid there is nothing funny in this book there is nothing surprising, or scary, or particularly dark it does its business quietly and competently, but there is no real oomph to it i really felt like it was one of those procedural shows i have on in the background while i chop vegetables or fold laundry.it to i am having difficulty finding an angle to approach this book report i felt very medium about this book, and i can t understand why.this is a grown up book by which i think i mean staid there is nothing funny in this book there is nothing surprising, or scary, or particularly dark it does its business quietly and competently, but there is no real oomph to it i really felt like it was one of those procedural shows i have on in the background while i chop vegetables or fold laundry.it told its story and then it left me and went about its business, and i don t think i had any reaction to it at all, like a wednesday afternoon at its heart, it is an ethical dilemma if a good man accidentally kills a bad man in the forest, does it make a sound the good man in question is a carpenter like jesus named paul because we are not finished with biblical allusions, not yet who has the love of a good woman and her child, and in every other situation, is self sacrificing and just goes with the flow of life, not causing any ripples the bad man is running from gambling debts, conning women and using a series of false identities to cover his tracks as he makes his way across the country he has stolen a dog from one of his victims, and his mistreatment of it is what causes the fight that leaves him dead and paul struggling to justify why he is not going to turn himself in but he does take the dog and names him shep yeah, like shepherd religion s role in the modern life is a huge part of this book kate, paul s girlfriend, has made a name for herself as a recovering alcoholic, born again christian writer and speaker, but the kind of christian who dispenses with inconvenient elements of the religion and has fulfilling intercourse with her boyfriend and makes a ton of money talking about her spiritual journey in person and on the radio what god wants expects of man is considered, religious atrocities invoked, there are superstitions and rituals and a literal snake invades what seems to be paradise add to this mix a sensitive and disturbed but possibly visionary child, and call it a book.i don t know this is such an adolescent comment, but it can t be helped these characters were annoying i know but paul s across the board except for that one splinter goodness and kate s bitchy jealousy, and paul s sister s overall disapproval of all things and misplaced protection of her husband and general judginess is irritating the female characters, specifically, were all pretty shady with their public vs private faces except for the stereotypical friendly lesbian carpenter i just didn t really care about what happened to them, good or bad and i wasn t really interested in the should good people be allowed to get away with bad things argument but then, i would be a terrible god i don t think anyone should ever be allowed to get away with anything especially litterbugs there is a special place in my hell for themand that s what i have a meh review for a meh book.i guarantee this review will bore those of you who only like me for my porny reviews sorry, friendsthe writing is solid, but i didn t really walk away from this book with anythingthan i have read another book tepid reading makes for boring book reports i sorry.come to my blog


  2. Will Byrnes Will Byrnes says:

    It is 1999 and the terror of Y2K is on the horizon Paul is a carpenter, capable, reserved, who is living in a New York suburb with Kate, a recovering alcoholic, recent convert to Christianity and newly published author of a best seller about her recovery and conversion They have a lovely life together, sexual, open, satisfying, and with the success of her book, comfortable But when Paul, a good man, out in the park one day, interferes with a swindler who is beating his dog, things get out of It is 1999 and the terror of Y2K is on the horizon Paul is a carpenter, capable, reserved, who is living in a New York suburb with Kate, a recovering alcoholic, recent convert to Christianity and newly published author of a best seller about her recovery and conversion They have a lovely life together, sexual, open, satisfying, and with the success of her book, comfortable But when Paul, a good man, out in the park one day, interferes with a swindler who is beating his dog, things get out of hand and an inner rage takes over Paul kills the man He struggles to cope with his guilt about the act, with his need to confess his crime Man in the Woods is the story of how Paul and Kate cope with the aftermath of that event, how they try to do good, how they struggle with a need for honesty, how they try to figure out what God wants of and for them, and if there is a god at all Both Kate and Paul try to fill the gaps created by losses in their lives She finds comfort in religion He takes comfort in his craft, but still longs for the father he lost long ago Will the darkness of his act engulf them and blot out the good they both do in the world There are many religious references in the story Aside from Kate s front and center religiosity, there is her daughter Ruby seeing angel like visions, a dog named Shep that may be shepherding Paul in a particular direction A family member tells of Maronite Christians committing atrocities in the name of the Virgin Mary AA membership brings in plenty of references to a Higher Power Frequent deer sightings feel like spiritual tones as well, and there is serpent to boot Paul and Kate are relatable characters One can understand how they feel, why they feel that way, and one can empathize with their struggles Their core event may exceed our quotidian experiences, but they wrestle with the same issues that many of us also confront That said, I would have liked a bitof Paul and Kate s back story While I thought their characters were well developed, I felt that they could have been made even richer withbackground Also I thought there might have been a bit too much ink dedicated to the swindler who is killed Man in the Woods is a moving novel, one whose characters will draw you in, one that deals with adult themes and does it with top notch literary style


  3. Bradley Bradley says:

    Really wasn t too happy with this book After The Event in the woods,I was preparing for a cat and mouse game between police and Paul, girlfriend and Paul, anyone and Paul It just went nowhere Some reviewers tossed this book on a pedestal Throughout the entire novel, I was questioning why I didn t care about the characters I didn t care about the plot I didn t care about anything I was almost 3 4 of the way in when I realized this book was going nowhere I thought I better finish it Ju Really wasn t too happy with this book After The Event in the woods,I was preparing for a cat and mouse game between police and Paul, girlfriend and Paul, anyone and Paul It just went nowhere Some reviewers tossed this book on a pedestal Throughout the entire novel, I was questioning why I didn t care about the characters I didn t care about the plot I didn t care about anything I was almost 3 4 of the way in when I realized this book was going nowhere I thought I better finish it Just a warning, there are a lot of better books out there to read I m sorry that I wasted my time on this one


  4. Bonnie Brody Bonnie Brody says:

    Scott Spencer s Man in the Woods is a novel that chronicles the life of Paul Phillips, a man who has been on his own since he was sixteen years old Paul is both a simple and a complex man simple because he has relied on good luck and good looks to open many doors, and complicated because he is an artisan of deep convictions that he is unwilling to compromise He is not a man to say very much but a lot goes on in his mind that does not come out in words He creates beautiful furniture, crafts, Scott Spencer s Man in the Woods is a novel that chronicles the life of Paul Phillips, a man who has been on his own since he was sixteen years old Paul is both a simple and a complex man simple because he has relied on good luck and good looks to open many doors, and complicated because he is an artisan of deep convictions that he is unwilling to compromise He is not a man to say very much but a lot goes on in his mind that does not come out in words He creates beautiful furniture, crafts, and remodels with wood Each type of wood speaks to him in its own way He has never given a lot of thought to his life Where he is and what he s doing have a way of simply falling into place He has traveled around a lot, living in Alaska, South Dakota, Colorado and currently in rural New York State.As the book opens, Paul is living with Kate Ellis, a character from Scott Spencer s previous book, A Ship Made of Paper Kate has become quite famous recently for her book, Prays Well With Others She is also sought after for speaking engagements and radio and television appearances Her book is a best seller and Kate considers herself a liberal Christian who believes deeply in the power of Christ and the lord She is also a very sensual woman and her love for Paul is unconditional and unwavering She wishes Paul would marry her but he seems to have an aversion to cementing the relationship though it is monogamous and committed Kate s book and talks are about the day to day things in her life that she believes make her an every woman and also bring her closer to God She is raising a daughter, Ruby, as a single mother with a mostly absentee father Paul s relationship with Ruby is good though he does not try to substitute as her dad.As the book opens, Paul has gone to see about work in Manhattan and is not thrilled about the quality of the job he is being asked to do He is reticent to accept the contract Money does not play a huge part in his life though he makesthan enough to get by With Kate s success, money is the very least of his problems and Kate is happy enough to support them both On his way back home, he stops in a park near Tarrytown to sit and think, to ponder his life and his reasons for being so strongly opposed to the possibility of the work he was just offered Though Paul thinks he is alone, he soon realizes that there is someone else close by, a man and his dog.The man with the dog is Will Claff, though that is not the name he goes by any He has traveled from his home city of Los Angeles around the country, changing his name in each place he stops His modus operandi is that he usually meets a woman who takes pity on him and will put him up for a while Will tells the woman that he has traveled to her community to take a job but the person who offered him the job committed suicide right before Will arrived Thus, he is without work and without means The truth is that Will has about five thousand dollars in gambling debts and he is paranoid that the people he owes money to are out to get him and surely will kill him once he s found.Will has just finished jogging, and as the paths of these two men cross, Paul witnesses Will being cruelly sadistic to his dog This is not an act that Paul can tolerate and, impulsively, he acts in a way that will change his life forever This can be a theme in Spencer s books the idea of one impulsive act forever creating a changed and damaged life and is observed in A Ship Made of Paper and Endless Love.From this day onward, Paul wonders about himself, about his core essence and how civilized he truly is or isn t He questions whether he is feral, an animal at the core and not a good man The book is beautifully written and dramatically unfolds It is deep, thrilling, and unbearably difficult to read at times Spencer has created a gem, a modern look at good and evil While he provides the questions, the answers and judgments rest in the hands of the reader


  5. Bandit Bandit says:

    Quite randomly my recent audio book selections have had a lot to do with faith But also, in this case, meaning and justice I ve recently learned the expression condign justice from another audio book actually, took a while to figure out the spelling , the subject of it has fascinated me long before this vocabulary expansion And so if a good man commits one terrible wrong although I m sure some would find it practically justifiable under the circumstances and a great many good deedswhat Quite randomly my recent audio book selections have had a lot to do with faith But also, in this case, meaning and justice I ve recently learned the expression condign justice from another audio book actually, took a while to figure out the spelling , the subject of it has fascinated me long before this vocabulary expansion And so if a good man commits one terrible wrong although I m sure some would find it practically justifiable under the circumstances and a great many good deedswhat is just What is the moral flexibility on murder orappropriately manslaughter Like all the best books this one doesn t merely entertain, it also makes you think It s a book about a crime, but not a crime book In a way of Crime and Punishment, this deals with repercussions of a crime How easy it is for a life to change, how one can enter the woods a happy man with much going on and leave the woods a murderer, oppressed by guilt and paralyzed by fear How much one forgiveness and understanding one can hope for from their loves ones How much one might do to try to achieve some sort of balance again I enjoyed this book very much, wasn t quite sure how the author was going to handle the ending, but I see why he did what he did The characters were great, complex, engaging, compelling in their search for grace, the narrative moved along with ease and confidence The audio reader did a terrific job, I haven t listened to him before, it was a treat And always a pleasure to discover a new author, Man in the Woods being a very auspicious introduction Recommended


  6. Cathy Cathy says:

    make up your mind, do you want to talk about love, religion, family, murder, conscience, what the whole mystery thing, whodunit didn t add up and didn t make sense not a good read


  7. Jim Thomsen Jim Thomsen says:

    While not categorized as a crime novel, Scott Spencer s Man In The Woods is populated by characters who dwell in souls slowly corroded by crime compounded by time At its troubled heart lies a simple yet complicated question Is it really better to get away with murder The irony in whatever the answer may be is that the murder in this book isn t really murder but, after a series of decisions that the principal characters find at first impossible to live with, and then horribly easier to While not categorized as a crime novel, Scott Spencer s Man In The Woods is populated by characters who dwell in souls slowly corroded by crime compounded by time At its troubled heart lies a simple yet complicated question Is it really better to get away with murder The irony in whatever the answer may be is that the murder in this book isn t really murder but, after a series of decisions that the principal characters find at first impossible to live with, and then horribly easier to reconcile, it sure as hell LOOKS like murder Spencer, a literary novelist who specializes in feelings too impossible to contain in the socially acceptable ways, is less interested in tracking the crime than he is in tracking the erratic travels of the hearts, minds and souls of his decent but flawed characters With tender insight and dialogue that artfully dances around the problem, Spencer shows how deeply we can fool ourselves into thinking we can stuff the bad stuff too big to contain into trunks of memory and drop them deep into the well of our souls We all play games with ourselves and our secrets, no matter how good we think and know ourselves to be, and even when we win or think we win we really lose Because those secrets change us, and rarely for the better, even when we make ourselves believe they haven t.And nowhere is this hard truthpowerfully in evidence than in the final pages of man In The Woods, with a gut punch of an ending that makes perfect sense and carries with it, one suspects, the potential for aperfect peace for the people of the story.This is a wonderful book, and another triumph for Spencer, in his ninth novel over a 34 year career I m dinging it a star only because he starts down the road of this story with procedural POVs from the perspectives of others connected to the death and then mysteriously abandons them One, involving a likely suspect, is strangely shoehorned into the final act, and I found myself wishing he d been introduced earlier and that his story had continued later It makes for a slightly uneven reading experience On the whole, however, Man In The Woods is highly recommended, not just for lovers of literary fiction, but for genre crime readers who like a little or a lot of thoughtfulness with their thrills


  8. Delaney Diamond Delaney Diamond says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here This book had me worried right up until the very end Paul accidentally kills a man in the woods on his way home one evening The guy had it coming, though He was viciously abusing a dog Yes, I realize that s not enough of a reason to kill someone I cringed when I read those passages it was so graphic.Paul never gets over the fact that he s done something so horrible It eats at him Kate, his partner, is so in love with him and so desperate to keep the bit of happiness she has with him th This book had me worried right up until the very end Paul accidentally kills a man in the woods on his way home one evening The guy had it coming, though He was viciously abusing a dog Yes, I realize that s not enough of a reason to kill someone I cringed when I read those passages it was so graphic.Paul never gets over the fact that he s done something so horrible It eats at him Kate, his partner, is so in love with him and so desperate to keep the bit of happiness she has with him that she becomes an accomplice after the fact.As the story unfolds, you experience the viewpoints of a number of the book s characters the police investigating the murder, Kate and her success as a writer radio personality, the landlord of the victim All the while, wondering if Paul will get away with it because he s really not a bad person The end draws near, and I think, Yes, he got away with it, and they ll move overseas and leave their problems behind. As a romance writer, I wanted these two to have a happy ending, even though I knew Paul should have gone to the police from the beginning and explained what happened A happy ending was not to be Spencer ripped the rug from under me at the last minute, and my heart plummeted when the police arrived.There were times I felt the book slowed too much for my taste If you re looking for constant excitement, it s not a book for you However, overall, I felt it was a good read Spencer has a beautiful way with words that draws you in and creates vivid pictures in your mind I enjoyed the book so much I picked up the one published before it, A Ship Made of Paper. I can t wait to see what he does in this one


  9. Sherry Sherry says:

    This book is a good one to discuss with a friend or in a book club There is a lot to talk about and the writing is beautiful I admire the literary value, although I do not care for the atmosphere Spencer creates in this book Spencer wrote some beautiful passages that give very good insight into the interior life of his characters The plot broods along, heading to its logical end The mood reminds me of sepia photos of a cold autumn dusk Spencer touches on themes that have to do with faith, This book is a good one to discuss with a friend or in a book club There is a lot to talk about and the writing is beautiful I admire the literary value, although I do not care for the atmosphere Spencer creates in this book Spencer wrote some beautiful passages that give very good insight into the interior life of his characters The plot broods along, heading to its logical end The mood reminds me of sepia photos of a cold autumn dusk Spencer touches on themes that have to do with faith, destiny, predisposition, grace, mercy, penance and justice The beauty of the writing is that although Spencer touches on so many heavy concepts the novel doesn t get bogged down with diatribes or metaphysical discourse The concepts are a part of the characters personality, giving insight as to who they are and how they view themselves in this world I really can t talk about it anywithout giving plot points away


  10. Michelle Michelle says:

    Scott Spencer is an amazing writer, no doubt about it I love the style of his prose succinct, clever and often jaw droppingly precise His words evoke an almost physical reaction You can feel cold where there is cold, warmth where there is warmth Despite this, Man in the Woods, about an otherwise good man who does a terrible thing, was at times slow for me I understood what the author was trying to do, show the gray areas of human behavior and, let s be honest, a gray kind of character i Scott Spencer is an amazing writer, no doubt about it I love the style of his prose succinct, clever and often jaw droppingly precise His words evoke an almost physical reaction You can feel cold where there is cold, warmth where there is warmth Despite this, Man in the Woods, about an otherwise good man who does a terrible thing, was at times slow for me I understood what the author was trying to do, show the gray areas of human behavior and, let s be honest, a gray kind of character isinteresting to read but at times the plot dragged It felt like most of the story happened at the very start of the book and at the very end Several of the characters felt ancillary That said, you really can t go wrong with this caliber of writing and the last quarter conclusion was extremely compelling


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