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Scott Spencer
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 12 1986
Fielding Pierce, the narrator of this novel, "has lived his life according to a strict master plan that should guarantee him a shot at Congress before he turns 40. When a freespirited young woman falls in love with him, he isastounded at his unexpected luck. But then she is murdered while attempting to aid Chilean rebels, and Pierce throws himself back into politics with manic determination.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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From 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
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"First-rate...treat yourself to the very considerable pleasure of reading 'Waking The Dead.'" -- Chicago Sun-Times

"In 'Endless Love', Spencer wrote lyrically and compelling about love at its most extreme--passion as obsession. In 'Waking The Dead', he brings the same fervor to a story about the struggle to live ethically in a corrupt world." -- New York Magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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SARAH WILLIAMS LEFT for Minneapolis with our life together in the worst possible repair. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
I so badly wanted to give this novel five stars. As someone who's heavily into political issues (worked on a Congressional campaign, ten year+ issue activist, etc.) and a sucker for a good romance I was hoping that this book would be both realistic and passionate. Frankly, while the story certainly is interesting, it's really not that realistic.
The author apparently felt like he needed to create a dichotomy to have conflict between his two characters. So Sarah is the ultra radical and Fielding is the more pragmatic politician type. The problem is, neither character is given realistic scenarios to play out these roles.
What ultimately happens to Sarah is, historically, more in line with what happened to radicals in the sixties who set off bombs - not someone who is the target of a bomb. Sarah might have been rescuing Chilean exiles and breaking US law, but that hardly puts her at the top of the FBI's most wanted list. Certainly not in comparison to folks like the Weather Underground which existed at the time.
I also wasn't comfortable with the author's presentation of what drove Sarah to do what she did. There's a lot of religious talk that just either made me uncomfortable or just didn't ring true. Having spent quite a bit of time with passionate activists, many of whom do break the law, I just didn't believe that someone would go around saying that any poor downtrodden person could be Jesus. I suspect that the author did this because maybe he just wasn't sure as to what would drive someone to behave like Sarah.
Then there's Fielding the politician. Since the book is set in the 70s maybe the author should be given some latitude. Maybe things were different then. But I doubt it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Compelling March 11 2003
In this interesting and unconvential novel, Scott Spencer takes us through the experince of Feilding Pierce, a budding politican whose life and career propel toward the fast track, while he is simotaniously haunted by the memory of his deceased lover. As his focus on the past deepens, he begins to speculate on the possibility that her politically-motivated death in a car-bombing was staged, and confront the possibility that she may still be alive. In many ways, Sarah, his activist lost love, is an embodiement of the idealism and radicalism of her times, and a symbol for the path Feilding could have taken. Spencer's narrative, shifting back and forth between events in Feilding's past and present, makes for an effective story telling method, and accurately illustrates how the past is never really very far away from our pysches. The politcal elements of the book are very well-depicted. The love story, at times, borders on being too one-dimensial, however, Spencer manages to create a very real heart at the center of the relationship. This novel is good, very good, but not quite exceptional. WHile Fiedling is very relatable, other primary characters are somewhat difficult to get a handle on, and certain plot elements are a little unclear. However, the novel breathes a certain fresh and unique quality that makes it effective and compelling. Readers with a political bent will be appealed by Feilding's career developments and the conflicting idealogies of Feilding and Sarah's world views and career aspirations. Those looking for a more gripping love story should check out Spencer's earlier novel, "Endless Love".
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not for everybody Nov. 15 2002
Scott Spencer has created a haunting story about love, beliefs and rendenption with Waking the Dead. Fielding Pearce and Sarah Willians have one of the strongest love affairs from recently literature. They are meant for each other, despite their antagonistic political beliefs. They live togheter, and Pearce can't come to terms with Sarah's political activities --she helps refugees , for one. They have a common life, against all odds.
But everything Pearce believes is about to fall down in the moment when Sarah is murderer in the explosion of a car. His life chages drastically, he becomes more cynical and less sensitive. Years later, he is married again, and running for a position as a Senator, but he has never got over Sarah. While caimpaing he starts seeing her and he wonders if she is really dead.
Rather than telling everything by the numbers, Spencer chooses to go back and forth with the chapters, showing how past interferes in the present. His style is very heartfelt and accurate. His particularly choice of word works really good through the novel. I cannot forget to mention the characters: they are quite well developed. Both Sarah and Pearce sound like regular human beings, the kind of people we know, that's what make them believable. Sarah has the rebeliouness of the 60s, and Pearce is the poor man who makes something huge.
It is a very interesting book that deserve to be discovered, nevertheless, I don't recommend it to everybody. Many people may not enjoy its particular pace and Sarah's ideas, which can be a bit disturbing at these times we live.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pulitzer material... Aug. 4 2000
By A Customer
This has all the earmarks of a prize-winning Great American Novel, right up there with Richard Ford's 'Independence Day,' Russell Banks's "Affliction" and Mary McGarry Morris's "Vanished."
I loved this book. I, too, relish certain scenes. A lovemaking scene in particular stands out. His descriptions are among the best in this area that I have ever read: muscular, nearly sculptural. The scene in the restaurant when Fielding announces that he believes he is having a nervous breakdown: I found myself very moved - to tears. In fact, I cried several times during the reading of this book, which incorporates so many elements of life: the poitical and the personal, on so many levels!
The reason I mentioned that it should win a Pulitzer is because it tackles a particularly important moment in American history: the dividing line between social conscience at its compassionate best and crazy worst and materialism at its heady best and greedy worst. I loved that it ended with Fielding reading the word "help" in one of the letters from a member of his constituency. You know that there is plenty of good work for him to do, just as his true love, Sarah, was doing hers.
Great style, great heart. Congratulations to the author on creating a classic I'm certain will live on as literature. As for the movie - did it ever come out? I'll have to check my video store.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Torn between love, religion, and politics.
Excellent novel about the love affair of a politically-destined Harvard grad Fielding, his girlfriend Sarah that is pulled towards the service of the Catholic Church, and the... Read more
Published on April 2 2002 by Jason W. Atwell
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed
Due to many positve reviews, I started this novel with high expectations. Unfortunately it left me unsatisfied. Read more
Published on March 10 2001
5.0 out of 5 stars extremely intense and passionate saga of love.
i am a big fan of scott spencer, who rises above the cliches of the monotonous post sixties style of writing and brings out the lost languages in his fiction, which i thought we... Read more
Published on Dec 31 2000 by manasi sapre
5.0 out of 5 stars Will the real martyr please stand up?
Fielding Pierce makes all the true sacrifices in this beautiful story, not Sarah, the feckless girl who wants sainthood for all her calculatedly good works. Read more
Published on Aug. 30 2000
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Book;A Wonderful Writer
I picked this book up randomly at the book store. What made me buy it was the New York Times Book Review's statement, "Occationally a scene comes across as so elegantly... Read more
Published on July 21 2000 by Kyle
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as I expected...
I was disappointed after reading this novel in a day or two. I may have had high expectations, too high before I even began and that could've ruined it for me. Read more
Published on April 13 2000 by Lorraine Matheny
5.0 out of 5 stars Winning and Losing
This story is about the tension between a life of carefully orchestrated public accomplishments and a concurrent and unexpected emotional breakdown. Read more
Published on April 8 2000 by Lois Schwartz
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Spencer's best, but....
Never the less, this is still a good book, and it is Scott Spencer doing what he does best, writing about matters of the human heart. Read more
Published on March 26 2000
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written this book keeps you engrossed until the end
Waking the Dead is a story about a guy who meets an falls in love with this woman only to have her get killed. Read more
Published on March 24 2000
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