A wildly entertaining and occasionally heartbreaking story of frustrated longing, and the lengths we will go for those we love—even if they don’t love us in return
An Ocean Without a Shore, from the bestselling, critically acclaimed author of Endless Love and Man in the Woods, is a beautifully rendered exploration of that most timeless of human dilemmas: the one in which your love is left unreturned.
Since their college days, Kip Woods has been infatuated with Thaddeus Kaufman, who, years later, is a married father of two children and desperately trying to revive a failing career. Kip’s devotion to Thaddeus has been life-defining and destiny-altering, but it has been one that Thaddeus has either failed to notice or refused to acknowledge. But over the course of this heated and mesmerizing novel, set against a background of privilege and affluence in Manhattan and the Hudson Valley, Kip will be forced to reckon with the prison of his own making and decide how much he is willing to sacrifice for a love that may never be shared.
Picking up where his most recent novel, River Under the Road, left off, but writing squarely in the vein of Endless Love, his classic novel of passion and obsession, Scott Spencer gives us an intimate, immersive, and unsettling portrait of the devastation we will wreak in the name of love, and the bitterness of a friendship ravaged by fathomless yearning.
Spencer returns to the characters from River Under the Road in this unsatisfying sequel about unrequited love and betrayal. Kip Woods, a supporting character in River, provides a first-person confession as he awaits sentencing for a criminal conviction. His criminal actions, which are revealed at the end, are motivated by his long-secret love for the now broke but once famous screenwriter Thaddeus Kaufman. Whenever Thaddeus needs Kip to do something for him buy his land to avoid foreclosure, care for his daughter Emma, or provide Thaddeus with insider stock tips Kip is eager to help. Spencer makes Kip's codependent devotion to Thaddeus as palpable as Kip's struggles with his romantic feelings ("If love is a sinking ship, you do want to go down with it"). The men's bromantic chats are engaging highlights, especially when Thaddeus toys with Kip by suggesting they hike the Appalachain Trail together ("Just to be two creatures in the great outdoors. I think that would be amazing"), and they show how Kip endures Thaddeus despite his increasingly odious behavior. While the narrative gets disjointed when Spencer shifts away from Kip, such as a depiction of Thaddeus in crisis when his father dies, the climax between the two friends is heartbreaking and explosive. Still, Spencer boxes Kip into a corner that feels disappointingly contrived.