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Comment: A well-cared-for item that has seen limited use but remains in great condition. The item is complete, unmarked, and undamaged, but may show some limited signs of wear. Item works perfectly. Pages and dust cover are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine is undamaged.
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Ash Wednesday Paperback – June 10, 2003

3.7 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hawke's protagonist, Jimmy Heartsick, is a bit like Holden Caulfield, except he sports a mustache ("Most guys with mustaches look like fags, but I don't. I touch mine too much, though. I touch it all the time"), drives a '69 Chevy Nova ("I took the muffle out so it sounds like a Harley. People love it") and is an AWOL soldier from Albany, N.Y. Jimmy can be a jerk, but he knows it. He's immature, idealistic, intelligent, honest and painfully self-examining, and is trying to wrap his head around the fact that his girlfriend, Christy, is pregnant with his child. The plot revolves around Jimmy's decision and tumultuous journey to follow Christy home to Texas. Any listeners wondering about the actor's second foray into the world of novel writing (his first, The Hottest State, got mixed reviews) will be pleasantly surprised by the spirited fullness of this tale of love, passion, disillusionment and self-discovery. Hawke's acting prowess is a great asset to his reading of the book. He delivers the book's dual first person narration, which alternates with each chapter, as if it were his own life story, with palpable immediacy and emotion. The result resonates with integrity and soul.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Hawke again departs from the silver screen to bring us this story of AWOL Jimmy and his pregnant girlfriend, who are heading home in a souped-up Chevy Nova to try to straighten out their lives.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (June 10, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375718850
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375718854
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #580,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I do not deem it necessary to re-hash the plot--since many of the other reviewers have already done so--but also because the plot is not what makes this book great. What worked in this story is mainly the characters. They were real and they were interesting, but what really made the characters work was the point of view. With two main characters, most authors would have gone with an omnicient point of view. Hawke chose to alternate between the two character's first-person points of view, which allows the reader to know the private thoughts and feelings of both characters. When other authors try this technique it usually doesn't work because the reader cannot tell the difference between the speakers, but in this book both characters are so distinct in their personal "voices" that you can always tell which one is speaking. I didn't exactly fall in love with the characters from the beginning, but they kind of grew on me and I found myself wanting to know--even CARING--about what happened to them. In the end, I was satisfied with this book and glad that I had read it. I also enjoyed Hawke's first novel, The Hottest State, and if and when there is a third, I will be sure not to miss that one either.
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Format: Hardcover
Ethan Hawke takes the time to wonder aloud those thoughts we all ponder at one time or another in our lives. Insecure thoughts. Angry thoughts. Proud thoughts. Thoughts of love and desire. He takes all of these sentiments and ties them together into Ash Wednesday which is a ode to human growth and the joys and pains of it. This book is about a man and a woman growing together yet wondering if they should be elsewhere but in the end they feel their time together is worthwhile and stick it out.
This is not a great book but it is a good book and one written by a man of depth and substance brave enough to speak his mind about the wackiness of the human condition.
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Format: Paperback
I was intrigued to read a novel by Ethan Hawke and was very pleasantly surprised with his wonderful, believable use of dialogue. I felt the characters were so screwed up they wiped out any empathy I might have mustered for their situation, but there was so much thought put into this book, so many different ideas concerning our very being on this planet, that I set aside my dislike for the characters and enjoyed reading a novel with so much soul. An excellent actor and a much greater author than I expected. And he shares his beautiful first name with my son, so how could he possibly do any wrong?
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By A Customer on December 19, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In his second novel, Ash Wednesday, Ethan Hawke tells the story of Jimmy and Christy, two twentysomething lovers who are on the brink of a quarter-life crisis as problems and consequences are thrown into their faces. Christy is pregnant, and Jimmy is AWOL from the Army after an "all around bad day" where he, while strung out on drugs, has to tell a mother that her military son was killed. They embark on a road trip where they each go back to their home towns, see their parents (Jimmy has only has flashbacks of his father, who committed suicide), get married, and face consequences for Jimmy's absence without leave from the Army.
This book is heavy with dialogue, which is, in my opinion, a good thing. One line of dialogue can tell more about a character than pages and pages of a narrator's description, and Hawke definitely has an ear for it (possibly from all those scripts he's read?)These characters are complex, and so real. You believe them as real people, possibly someone you might know in life, and you are dying to know what happens to them next.
This is one of the best books I have read all year.
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Format: Paperback
This is not an easy task with Hawke's book b/c the characters are narcissistic and stifling. The writing is not revelatory, but there is a heart to the book and that is offered quite sincerely. Neither character is one you'd necessarily like to sit down with for dinner (well maybe Christy, b/c she is depicted as being very sexually-attractive and her mood changes are interesting).But this is a book I felt like putting down a couple of times b/c it doesn't have a real strong narrative drive, but I stayed with it, found the male character endearing and honest, and ended up enjoying it pretty much.
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Format: Hardcover
When you mention the most exciting and promising writers of the younger generation, most people don't mention Ehan Hawke. And that's a shame. They should. The Hottest State, while an enjoyable freshman work, is nothing compared to the raw and profound provocative tour de force that is Ash Wednesday. Let's face it, I, like most of you, had my doubts coming in to this one. To say that those doubts have been erased and replaced by assurances of grandeur would be the understatement of the year.
While he most positively should have won the Oscar for his sublime effort in Training Day, Ethan Hawke deserves equal kudos for this telling tale of enigmatic Jimmy Heartsock and his pregnant girlfriend Christy. Hawke emits such intangible, yet very real, intensity and cathartic power that lead to Jimmy's self-discovery through a trying and arduous epiphany. Folks, we're seeing Ethan Hawke at his best - don't kid yourself. If you haven't read this, then you, my friend, are missing out on a voyage into profundity. 5 Big Stars from Robert Jackson. And that's the 411.
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