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Waking the Dead Hardcover – May 1986

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Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Alfred a Knopf; (1st) First Edition edition (May 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394543564
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394543567
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 15.2 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,353,046 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By zeroned on 1 Dec. 2010
Format: Paperback
Fantastic book. Possibly one of the best stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

A terrific tale and I read a rumour it was based on a true story - ?? who knows.

There's a film of it as well and it is good - but the book is amazing and I would read it first.

I really hope you have the opportunity to read this book, because in some ways it could change any reader's life.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 21 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
A Beautiful Book;A Wonderful Writer 22 July 2000
By Kyle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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 rounded and complete I admit to gasping from sheer pleasure." This kind of reaction from a person who reads books for a living pursuaded me to give it a try. I was not disappointed. Spencer's writing style is so smooth that I found myself aching inside for Fielding Pierce. I'm not going to tell you what happens because that is part of the beauty of the book. You are better off not knowing the details. Just buy the book, sit back, and prepare to be engrossed by woderfully developed characters that transcend the novel. You actually end up seeing them as real people, who you accept with all their faults and gifts. Scott Spencer earned himself a new fan with this novel.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Pulitzer material... 4 Aug. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Not Spencer's best, but.... 26 Mar. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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. His characterizations are good,and as always his books are hard to put down. He is one of this country's best writers, and I am glad to see this book in print again. If you have never read Spencer before,"Endless Love" is one of the great love stories of all time. If you've read one of his books, you will want to read them all. Let's hope the movie does justice to this book, (unlike the "Endless Love" disaster,) and that we can look forward to many more books from Mr. Spencer.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Winning and Losing 8 April 2000
By Berkeley Buyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This story is about the tension between a life of carefully orchestrated public accomplishments and a concurrent and unexpected emotional breakdown. The hero, Fielding Pierce, is collapsing internally but is propelled forward by a political career that seems indestructible, even when his conduct careens wildly between pursuing his ambitions and succumbing to his personal demons. Anyone familiar with Chicago politics will love the supporting characters involved in the campaign at the center of the story; the love story has a hard time competing for the reader's attention. The hero's family is also wonderful, and Scott Spencer achieves perfect pitch with family dialog. Sarah, the lost lover, is the only character who is at all one-dimensional, which makes it all the easier for the hero to recreate her as he wishes. The movie is a disappointment, but I think that is because it could not quite capture the subtleties of the counterpoint between the hero's public life and private life. Maybe this is a problem when a book is written too well -- without Scott Spencer's lovely prose, thorough characterizations, and perfect descriptions, the movie script just bogs down and doesn't quite know what to do with itself.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Interesting and Compelling 11 Mar. 2003
By a reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
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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