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Ash Wednesday, Ethan Hawke, Book Review

March 15, 2017


I finished Ash Wednesday; I loved it. Ethan Hawke is deep. I was right, Christy was Uma. I loved her character. But he's not married to her anymore in real life, which was a premonition in his novel--that marriages might not last. His dialogue is really natural, masculine and cool when he writes in the first person as "Jimmy". He's thoughtful. There are lots of thoughts. Ethan is great at building "scenes' up to a crescendo (like the basketball scene with the young boy who dared to play Jimmy for money, egging him on, and criticizing Jimmy for his age, his car, his class, his career: Army, and all the things he's about). I've seen Ethan Hawke do that in his movies. That nervous energy he has that is engaging. That deep-felt love he likes to show. The deep conversations (like in Before Sunrise and Before Sunset with Julie Delpy). In Ash Wednesday, Ethan built a crescendo around the pathos that his father's mental illness created, even hinting that the apple doesn't fall far from the proverbial tree; Jimmy trying to help Christie in New Orleans, stuck in grid-locked Mardi Gras traffic, on the verge of losing their baby, going off on a bender that lands him in prison, at the time she needs him most. I'll try for masculine, deep and cool in my next novel. :) It really works! I highly recommend this novel. The only negative, I think, is that most 20 somethings don't worry as much as Christy does about marriage, they don't have that insight that seems to be coming from someone older, like the author, Ethan Hawke. Usually you go in blindly with tons of hope when you are young and in love. And maybe that's the point; Christy had been married before. Jimmy hadn't.

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