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Ashes by [Manchester, Steven]
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Ashes Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 272 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Product description

Review

Ashes uses a poignant cross-country expedition to explore the shared history of an interesting pair of estranged brothers charged with fulfilling their father s bizarre last wish. The pilgrimage twists through childhood memories of comic misdeeds and bruising misunderstandings, detours into sibling squabbles, and bounces over the ruts of problematic marriages and ornery children to arrive at an unexpectedly wonderful destination. I loved it. --Anne Hillerman, New York Times bestselling author of ROCK WITH WINGS"

When two middle-aged, estranged brothers hit the road with their father s ashes in the back seat of the car, what begins as a grueling test of opposites ends up as a heroic testament to love. Ashes is a story about disappointment, dysfunctional families, and male aging, filled with observations that are both painfully true and terribly funny. Sometimes raw, always engaging, Steven Manchester s novel is a wry and wise journey through the ruins of the American Dream. --William Kent Kruger, New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author of ORDINARY GRACE"

Steven Manchester has the enviable ability to capture the intricacies of the human heart through words. Ashes is a moving novel of two brothers and their journey back to one another. A must read. --Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of THE WEIGHT OF SILENCE and MISSING PIECES"

Ashes is a wonderfully character-driven, page-turning tale of two estranged brothers on a personal quest across the country. Their spontaneous road trip is a bumpy one, full of twists and turns and peopled with all sorts of colorful characters along the way, but it s also touched with humor enough to amuse and delight the reader through a heartfelt, life-changing journey of self-discovery. Manchester s devoted fans will find much to love in his new novel, which proves he is an author who knows how to keep readers well-entertained, while touching their hearts deeply and profoundly at the same time. --Julianne MacLean, USA Today bestselling author of THE COLOR OF HEAVEN"

About the Author

Steven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestsellers Twelve Months, The Rockin Chair, Pressed Pennies, and Gooseberry Island as well as the novels Goodnight, Brian and The Changing Season. His work has appeared on NBC s Today Show, CBS s The Early Show, CNN s American Morning, and BET s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester s short stories were selected 101 Best for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series. He lives with his family in southern Massachusetts."

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5134 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Fiction Studio Books (21 Feb. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01NBWB1FT
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
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Customer Reviews

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Format: Kindle Edition
This is the story of two estranged brothers who, after their father's death, are brought together to undertake a road trip to fulfill their father's last request to scatter his ashes. Both men are busy with their very different lifestyles when they each receive a letter from their father's attorney informing them of their father’s passing. A condition of their father’s will is that the two of them should travel together which , it must be said, is never going to be an easy journey for either of them.

As always, this author's canny perception of the minutiae of life shines through and what then follows is a poignant, and, at times, humorous look at the frailty of human relationships. The brothers, once close, have since allowed petty indifferences to cloud their world. Ashes, sees them take the first tentative steps on a journey which makes them both re-examine everything important in their lives.

The author writes with his usual fine attention to detail, his trademark skill of strong characterisation and finely drawn observation comes across, as does his story telling ability. As the story evolves we start to understand that there is more at stake here than just a journey. It's about the disappointment of family feuds and the danger of being too complacent when it's all too easy to stick, dogmatically, to a path without deviating. It's also about the power of family, of kinship and of the irretrievable ties that bind us all together, faults and all, and it reminds us that we are never too old to make changes.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This novel captivates from the start. Two estranged brothers learn that their recently cremated Dad requires them to transport his ashes by car driving together from Salem to Seattle, East to West Coast America, to scatter them at a precise, unrecognised address. Only by proving that they have travelled the distance (about 3,000 miles) together and scattered his mortal remains to the satisfaction of his lawyer will they get access to his Will and Testament. The last wish of their father is initially treated with contempt by both brothers but they are both tempted by the possibility, albeit small, that financial reward might await them. They are also both intrigued. And eventually inquisitiveness gets the better of them. They decide to give the request a go, even although their Dad mistreated both badly as children. Very badly.
The brothers haven't spoken in 15 years and essentially hate each other. They are opposites: Tom, an educated and snobbish liberal college professor and Jason, a Prison Guard. So one brother is an intellectual and the other physical. More opposite brothers than you can ever imagine. Their experiences of life during their estrangement are as far apart as you could ever imagine.
As the journey progresses the story flows as they exchange mutual experiences from their singular point of view. Their journey is not just about the distance in miles but the opportunity to reflect on their experiences. The novel is packed with comical banter and sad reflections on opportunities lost. Usually the cause was their Dad. This novel packs every emotion into it and was a delight to read. In particular it includes a delightful poem which you can find for yourself when you read this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I’ve always been dubious about road trip books, mainly because I hadn’t read one I truly enjoyed. Ashes by Steven Manchester proved to be the exception.

Two estranged brothers must travel across America to spread their hated father’s ashes before they will learn if he left them anything. But Jason and Tom haven’t spoken for fifteen years – and neither has the desire to rekindle their relationship. Stuck in a car with each other, however, has an interesting effect and the two brothers start to reconnect.

To start with, I didn’t like Jason or Tom – one was too aggressive, the other too weak. But as their journey progressed and emotions began to be displayed (other than calling each other names), they grew on me. Behind the aggression, Jason is genuine in wanting to help people. Tom is slightly naïve, but has his heart in the right place and he cares about his brother. By the end, I wanted to give them both a hug!

Ashes touched me in a way I wasn’t expecting. Maybe I was in just the right mood to be receptive to it? Living for yourself and being happy is the most important thing in life – and the thing that often is overlooked. Ashes displays a powerful message about looking after yourself and striving for contentment.

It also focused on abuse and how fear, anger and hate can dictate our lives. It’s made clear that it didn’t have to be that way for everyone, that there is an escape and a chance to be happy.

The fact that Ashes got to me on an emotional level shows that Manchester is a strong writer. His characters were well-established and certainly three-dimensional – the two brothers discovered they had a lot of emotions to deal with.

There were a few too many meals being described but in general, the focus remained on the plot rather than the road-trip.

A short but enjoyable read that makes you think about your life choices. I would recommend it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome road trip! 28 Feb. 2017
By Balzi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Again I was pleasantly surprised by this author! I flew thru this book and enjoyed the trip with both brothers. The banter was funny and great between them and could see and hear it in my minds eye! It was great to see how the trip transformed up until the their destination and how they moved forward. Honestly made me want to take a road trip again myself and reminded me of the good and bad times with friends on the road.
5.0 out of 5 stars Just read it (because you'll love it!) 21 May 2017
By Matt - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
MINOR SPOILERS!

I’ve always enjoyed road trip stories in every genre, fiction or non-fiction. Ashes is a book by Steven Manchester that follows the journey of two brothers named Jason and Tom as they travel across the country with their father’s cremated remains. Before their father passed, he left an envelope and the two brothers won’t find out the contents until they make this journey.

The two brothers do not get along well and neither one of them are excited at all about this trip. There is definitely a Cain-Abel theme between these two, except God is not the one that they want to impress; it’s their egos instead. These two brothers are polar opposites of each other in every way, shape, and form. The only thing that seems to unite them (at first) is their shared dislike of their father. Their father was extremely mean towards these two. It’s strange that in real life it always takes the death of a family member to unite a family, like Jason and Tom.

Ashes has humor too. The way they put each other down and think mean thoughts about the other was funny at times as they make this trip. It is actually sort of reminiscent of Steve Martin and John Candy in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. The jokes they make about their father’s ashes were funny at times because their father is an EXTREMELY unlikable character.

In a sense we all carry “ashes” with us throughout our journey on life’s cross-country highway. We don’t know what we are going to encounter on the highway and we don’t know what’s at the end of it. Jason and Tom discovered that they are still brothers regardless of what they encounter.

Ashes is a good book that reads very smoothly. I give it 5 stars. Manchester gives you just enough description and information but not too much (unlike Stephen King). The dialogue reads very natural and not forced or dragged out. I really enjoyed the novel a lot and I think it’s definitely worth a read. If you’ve enjoyed Manchester’s previous works, then you are guaranteed to like this one too.

*On a side note, anytime I read a book I always try to picture who should be cast if it was a movie. I totally pictured Michael Cudlitz (Abraham from The Walking Dead) as Jason. If this book is ever adapted for the big screen, he would fit perfectly! Maybe Jason Sudeikis or Robert Downey Jr. as Jason..…….post your opinion (after you BUY the book!)
5.0 out of 5 stars His best yet! 19 Mar. 2017
By Kathleen Salzberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author takes us on a cross-country trip with two estranged brothers, survivors of a nightmarish childhood at the hands of a brutish father and a lost mother they can barely recall. We get to know them intimately and the scars that they bear and along the well-plotted way we see how this trip they dreaded changes their relationship and their lives.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ashes was awesome, couldn't put it down 19 Feb. 2017
By Denise Marino - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ashes was awesome,couldn't put it down. Each one of his books just keeps getting better than the last one , so let us all hope he has another in the making.thanks you Steven Manchester for another very good book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 Feb. 2017
By Kim F. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent read! The author really captures the heart of family :-)
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