Waking the Dead

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Fielding (“Field”) Pierce, a young attorney about to run for a congressional seat, finds himself flooded with memories of his girlfriend--murdered by terrorists five years previously.

Field was a law student following a carefully laid plan--Ivy League college, law school, then politics -- when he met Sarah Williams, a young woman with a powerful social conscience and feverish opinions. Sarah, a devout Catholic, worked in various jobs connected with the Church and helping the poor; this led to her association with political refugees from Chile. While attempting to assist members of the Church in transportation of these refugees, she was killed by a car-bomb blast. Or was she?

While campaigning for Congress, Field questions his sanity when he begins to hear and see things that cause him to feel that Sarah may still be alive. Although he loved her to distraction, he had difficulty in understanding her single-mindedness -- single-mindedness much like his own, but with a radically different goal.

Scott Spencer has written a novel of vivid characterizations and telling details. He has skillfully juxtaposed two stories here--the political campaign of the present and the love affair of the past--yet the novel’s richest complexity lies not in the plot but in the characters themselves. Spencer’s depiction of the recent past-- the latter years of the Carter administration--evokes a time that is already slowly receding into “history.”

Best known for another story of obsessive love, ENDLESS LOVE, Scott Spencer has produced an intelligent, well-written, and extremely readable novel.