4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2002
The Hottest State was decent stab at a good novel but despite some good passages fell short of the mark overall. Not so Ash Wednesday. Hawke hits the ground running with a cracking first chapter and seldom puts a foot wrong from there. Jimmy Heartsock is strung out on speed, fed up with his life in the US Army and realises he's turned his back on the only good thing in his life: Christy. We spend most of the book following the two of them down the road; each taking turns to narrate. Hawke has given them distinctive voices and the contrast in their perception of their relationship & the events around them is spot on. I was completely absorbed by what was going on and found it hard to do anything but read after picking the book up. The action is described beautifully and Hawke has a good ear for dialogue. Jimmy's options as a man are spelled out a little too obviously towards the end, but that's a minor gripe. What precedes it is a serious, honest, funny, spiritually searching love story about two people trying to make sense of themselves, each other and the world around them. Overall a seriously good read and one that marks Ethan Hawke out as a writer to watch.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2003
It has been a long time since a book has smashed my preconceptions to pieces, however, Ethan Hawk`s Ash Wednesday did just that. From the first chapter to the last page, this book demands to be read. Hawk`s achievement rests on the involving narrative structure, the exploration of the books themes and motifs and Hawk`s uncanny ability to write a moving, but honest novel.
The book centers on the story of two lovers, Jimmy Heartsock and Christy Ann Walker, over the course of the couples troubled pregnancy. By dividing the narrative structure, Hawk allows the story to unfold through the view point of both characters. The results are that Hawk has not only constructed an amusing book, but also a very moving story as well.
Ash Wednesday is a story about love, however, Hawk is not afraid of examining socities prevailing notions of masculinity, the book confronts how the past forever haunts the future whilst highlighting Human kinds need for companionship and community over the excesses of the individual hedonism.
The book has its short falls, as Hawk uses the tired formula of the damaged Vietnam vet as a basis for madness, however ths is a fine piece of work that highlights that Hawk may yet have the potential to write a classic piece of literature.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2002
This is brilliant.If you thought "The Hottest State" was good, you are in for an even bigger treat (if that's possible?!!)Ethan's writing is magnificent, and he really knows how to get to grips with thew thorny issues of sex and romance, and all the problems that go with them. If you're anything like me, you will swallow this up in one sitting and then wish it could have gone on forever. If you want to read a really good book with a fantastic strory, you should buy "Ash "Wednesday".
1 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2002
I was really, really excited about this book, and I rushed out to get it straight when it came out. I've always admired Ethan Hawke's films and hoped that his new book might be as good. I was really disappointed.
The two charcaters are meant to be in love, but they just don't "ring true".It is also not very funny, and the action scenes leave alot to be desired. In short, a big blunt thumbs-down. If you like Ethan Hawke you should stick at his filmns, because his writing isn't as good.