WAKING THE DEAD Hardcover – Apr 12 1986
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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 the Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on April 2 2002 by Jason W. Atwell
Due to many positve reviews, I started this novel with high expectations. Unfortunately it left me unsatisfied. Read morePublished on March 10 2001
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 morePublished on Dec 31 2000 by manasi sapre
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 morePublished on Aug. 30 2000
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 morePublished on July 21 2000 by Kyle
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 morePublished on April 13 2000 by Lorraine Matheny
This story is about the tension between a life of carefully orchestrated public accomplishments and a concurrent and unexpected emotional breakdown. Read morePublished on April 8 2000 by Berkeley Buyer
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 morePublished on March 26 2000