Scott Spencer now ranks among my favorite authors. Although, it should be mentioned I haven’t completed a single novel of his. I’m working on it. I know this because of his material, what he chooses to mine for his stories. He explores the tension between passion and guilt, violence and fragility. He deals with obsession often resulting in a turning point within the story; an act after which nothing can return to the way things were. It’s not so subtle, it’s often dramatic, and it keeps you turning the page.
In Spencer’s debut, nominated for the National Book Award, Spencer explores obsessive love and its lifelong consequences. The coup de grace occurs within the opening pages, an act so terrible that it forever alters a young man’s life. The emotions, though rollicking, are often high and tense, perfect for page turning.
Spencer’s latest novel focuses on an event in the woods, a man is shot by another, and how that man chooses to deal with his actions. Similar to Love Spencer uses one violent incident to fashion a treatise of ethics, morality, and God.
Willing finds Spencer still exploring tension and conflict in our daily lives and decisions. This time, when a man is given witness to the international sex trade, Spencer meditates on balancing inherent costs of complete freedom and that of male restraint. Although the material is seemly and repugnant, Spencer excels at creating emotionally generous characters and passionate relationships.