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Waking the Dead

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  417 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Fielding Price keeps seeing Sarah everywhere--did she survive the car bombing, or is he losing his mind? Written by the author of "Men in Black, Waking the Dead" is major motion picture produced by Jodie Foster. ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 1st 2000 by Berkley Trade (first published April 12th 1986)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  417 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Jessica Barrett
Dec 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A story about idealism and loss, as shown in a relationship between Sarah and Fielding, a couple whose relationship was bound to end in tragedy from the start. See the movie first and if you like it, read the book. The movie is my favorite of all time. I watch it again and again and cry every time.

I feel like the characters show you two different paths that an idealistic person could take, almost like Anna and Levin in Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Sarah is passionate, religious, and radical. Her ve
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-reads
This novel reconfirms my belief that Scott Spencer is an excellent American novelist. I did sometimes feel that Waking the Dead was growing too long, with the character of Fielding Pierce continually spinning his wheels and going over many of the same thoughts and crisis for hundreds of pages - but there was almost always some striking insight about human nature on each page that I could only continue reading. There is more of the political career of the aspiring Senator than there was in the fi ...more
Paul Dinger
Jan 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Nobody writes love stories like Scott Spencer. In his books youthful passion and idealism are rarely good things. In this book the main character is haunted literally by his youthful innocence and passion which may or may not be as dead as he thinks. Spencer can make waking dreams seem so real and the entire book has a is it real or fantasy feel. I was enraptured from beginning to end.
Shannon Miller
Dec 30, 2013 rated it did not like it
I gave it 253-pages hoping something remotely interesting would happen, but I'm not going to waste any more time on this snoozefest. ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Sadly I almost woke up the dead by snoring at this snoozefest.

Jan 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
Don't bother. I picked this up at Half Priced Books. Had never read any of this authors books, but have seen some of the movies. I was not impressed ...more
LInda L
Feb 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
Terrible book -- I plowed through it, reading bits and pieces. Got worse as it progressed.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love Scott Spencer's prose and smooth way of writing. I was devastated to find out the end was not as ambiguous as the movie and in that sense I think the film portrayed better Fielding's battle with himself and the memories of Sarah than the book itself. However, the book is still brilliant, it is filled with great lines and wonderful witty comments. I found myself ruling for Fielding the entire time and at times felt that Sarah's loyalty towards him was not even meeting his half way. Sarah w ...more
Feb 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of heartbreaking relationship stories, with a dash of politics
A good book, possibly an even better movie. The book captures a lot of the feeling of their relationship, but it is also full of page after page of descriptions about Fielding's political career, which takes away from the more meaty and emotional relationship parts of the book. I would say it's safe to see the movie first, and then read the book if you like the movie. ...more
Apr 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I've had this book sitting on my shelf for probably 10+ years, and only just got around to reading it. I didn't have to rush.

I didn't particularly like any of the characters, though I think that was an intentional move on the author's part (or it wasn't, and he's just bad at developing characters beyond being entirely self-serving). I don't want to give away plot details, so I'll just say that Mr. Spencer could benefit from a more discerning editor; too many times the protaganist walked into ro
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I looked for this book after I saw the film, as is my way. I already know how the plot goes, but of course reading the novel is a much deeper, immersive experience. The relationship with the siblings is more fleshed out and I loved that they were such a presence in Fielding's life. The movie is still very faithful to the book though.

I would also often highlight sentences, turns of phrase I like... I ended up highlighting a lot in this one due to Spencer being a very skilled writer. What can I sa
C.C. Rising
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fielding Pierce, a young lawyer and aspiring politician, believes in carefully laid plans and working within the system to effect change. His activist lover Sarah Williams helps poor refugees and believes the system can be changed only from the outside and that working within it is a sell-out. That philosophical difference eventually fractures the duo’s all-consuming relationship and is reminiscent of the political angst in America today.

Fielding’s opening line in Waking the Dead sets the stage
Maggie Donaldson
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Well, it was good but not as good as I thought. I guess I was expecting something different, more of a thriller, judging by the book's blurb and write-ups. As it was, the outcome was predictible. However, as a psychological study of one man's obsession and single-mindedness to achieve an ambition, and the mental pressure and slide to the edge of a breakdown, it was effective. You could feel the weight of everyone's expectations - father, mentor, siblings, lovers, his own - crushing down on him, ...more
Rich Thomez
Jan 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
I really enjoyed Endless Love by Spencer so I tried Waking the Dead. I really tried but after getting halfway through realized nothing interesting had happened up to that and I wasn't enjoying it so gave up on it. ...more
Feb 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Now I understand why so many people appreciate Scott Spencer's work. Thanks to a user on LJ for recommending I try again after my disappointment with Willing. Fielding Pierce is a man who wants to be a part of the system. When he falls in love with a woman who believes the system is flawed and devotes her self to working for those who can't fight for themselves, it would seem that there's no way the relationship would work. And it wasn't working when she was killed as part of collateral damage i ...more
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
I want to start out by saying that Scott Spencer has the most beautiful command of language that I've read in a long while. I honestly didn't expect to like this book much, but the story completely drew me in. I feel like there are so many levels to the plot besides just being about an aspiring politician obsessing over a deceased girlfriend: family and how their expectations (or lack thereof) shape you, the corruption of politics (sometimes in spite of the best of intentions), true service to G ...more
Eric Maxfield
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
This story is an embodiment of grief and may be offputting for some that dont find it resonates. Be glad it does not and moves on to another book because this one evokes deep empathy.

In fielding's search for sarah we can almost feel her missing presence and his heartache is so bad that she seems to be alive. Maybe she is? The novel plays with this ambiguity and i find it works.

I can see how with this and other scott spencer novels he explores the emotional side of the story exhaustively and you
Isla McKetta
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
This has always been one of my favorite films... the one I return to over and over when I really need a good sob, so I've meant to read the book for a long time. The movie adaptation is faithful so there were few surprises. The writing is solid with touches of brilliance. Had I read the book first, I would have liked it more, but I found myself impatient to get to the crying parts. Great sex scenes, though. Not as great as Antunes, but I love the characters here more so they were more intimate. ...more
May 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
This was okay. It was compelling (it certainly got me turning the pages), but it was definitely not an enjoyable read. Spencer does have a knack for character development--in just a short sentence or two, he can create a character where you just *know* everything about them: their motivations, their emotions, etc. Stylistically, some of this similes/metaphors go a little bit overboard.
Jan 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book, though it oozes sadness from its pores. A heartbreaking love story that manages to lasso in a lot of other complicated themes in an intelligent way. The kind of book that had you read it in college after a breakup you would have gone through several boxes of tissues. Anxious to see the movie.
Sep 20, 2010 rated it liked it
I really really love this movie, so I wanted to give the book a shot...something I rarely do after I've seen a film. I have seen this movie several times, and am in tears every time. The writing didn't evoke the same emotion from me as the performances in the film did. ...more
Nov 25, 2007 rated it liked it
haunting love story; warning: do not read while drinking red wine or if you've had a recent break-up (or maybe do). ...more
Erma Aker
Dec 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A mesmerizing book that touches the heart and makes you live with the characters. One of my all-time favorites.
Aug 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Another great one by Spencer. I haven't read A Ship Made of Paper and found myself underwhelmed by Willing, but the rest of this writer's work is really worth reading. ...more
Oct 12, 2008 rated it liked it
...still reading...but so far, so's as haunting as the cover is ...more
Miss Jaime
Nov 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
A moving book and beautiful movie.
Dec 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
I sort of liked this movie, but found it a little lacking and so I checked out the book to see if it could give me more. It didn't.
Jan 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book just like his others, this story is so ...real, so intense, barely put the book down.
Damien Leri
Jan 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good stuff, as usual from this author.
Dec 11, 2011 rated it liked it
Something of a disappointment after reading Man in the Woods. It didn't make me care about the characters as much. Looking forward to reading more of his though. ...more
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Scott Spencer (b. 1945) is the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of ten novels, including Endless Love and A 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 films.

He has taught at Columbia University, the University of Iowa, and Williams College, and Bard College's Bard Prison Initi

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