Ash Wednesday

Front Cover
VINTAGE BOOKS, 2002 - Fiction - 240 pages
157 Reviews
From the actor, director, and writer Ethan Hawke: a piercing novel of love, marriage, and renewal.

Jimmy is AWOL from the army, but—with characteristic fierceness and terror—he’s about to embark on the biggest commitment of his life. Christy is pregnant with Jimmy’s child, and she’s determined to head home, with or without Jimmy, to face up to her past and prepare for the future. Somehow, barreling across America from Albany to New Orleans to Ohio and Texas in a souped-up Chevy Nova, Christy and Jimmy are transformed from passionate but conflicted lovers into a young family on a magnificent journey.

Ash Wednesday is a novel of blazing emotion and remarkable grace, a tale that captures the intensity—the excitement, fear, and joy—of being on the threshold of the mysterious country of marriage and parenthood. Powerful, assured, large of heart, and punctuated by moments of tremendous humor, it represents, for Hawke the novelist, a major leap forward.

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While this is a book about a young couple in love, it had some poignant insights into what makes for love in a marriage:
Excerpt from a novel by Ethan Hawke. This scene takes place between a bride
and her best friend right before the wedding.
“What’s it like [marriage]?” I asked,
“I’ll tell you later.” She grinned secretively. “How’s my lipstick?”
“Tell me now, “I demanded.
“It’s utter agony,” she said, in complete earnestness. “You will give all you have to give, and it won’t be enough. You will resent him and feel he has single-handedly ruined your life, and—worse than that—you will be correct.” She flipped the veil around in her hands and move toward me. “He will resent you and take all your gifts for granted. For the life of you, you will not be able to remember how you could’ve fallen in love with this lazy self-absorbed creep. At night you will cry from loneliness, just as you have your whole life, only now someone will be lying in bed right beside you and that kind of loneliness is ten times worse than anything you’ve ever know before.” She paused to let you a deep sigh and continued. “And then one Christmas you’ll be driving slowly through a snowstorm, both of you not speaking ‘cause you’re petrified the car is gonna slide off the road, but you’ll make it home. You’ll start laughing and kissing, and then you’ll realize that all this time while you’ve been grouch and complaining you haven’t actually looked him in the eye, and when you do you’ll recognize the best friend you’ve ever know and you won’t be able to believe that all this time he was sitting right beside you.”

Review: Ash Wednesday

User Review  - Michael Obiora - Goodreads

As an actor and writer myself, I was interested to see which other actors have written works of fiction in the past. This is the second offering I've read from Ethan Hawke (the first was The Hottest ... Read full review

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About the author (2002)

An Academy Award nominated actor for his work in TRAINING DAY, an Academy Award nominated writer for the BEFORE SUNSET screenplay and a Tony Award nominated actor for his work on stage in THE COAST OF UTOPIA, Ethan Hawke has uniquely established a successful career acting on film and on stage, as a novelist, a screenwriter and a director.In film, Hawke was last seen in Richard Linklater's FAST FOOD NATION. Some of his other film credits include EXPLORERS (which marked his acting debut), DEAD POETS SOCIETY, DAD, WHITE FANG, ALIVE, REALITY BITES, BEFORE SUNSET and the sequel BEFORE SUNRISE, GATTACA, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, HAMLET, and TRAINING DAY.Ethan Hawke's novels THE HOTTEST STATE and ASH WEDNESDAY are both available from Vintage. Hawke recently directed the film version of THE HOTTEST STATE. He will also make his Off Broadway directing debut in the fall of 2007 with Jonathan Marc Sherman's dark comedy play, THINGS WE WANT.

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