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Ashes Hardcover – February 21, 2017
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“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.
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The story is so real with feelings and memories that both brothers don't want to revisit. The trip together forces them to as they get to know each other. Both have difficult decisions to make about their futures as well. Ashes is a story of survivors who are still being affected by their abusive childhoods even though both brothers have tried to ignore its existence. I highly recommend this book as a story of success over past sorrows and letting go of the past.
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!)