Synopses & Reviews
The first novel in nearly twenty years from the acclaimed actor/writer/director is a book about art and love, fame and heartbreak — a blistering story of a young man making his Broadway debut in Henry IV just as his marriage implodes.
A bracing meditation on fame and celebrity, and the redemptive, healing power of art; a portrait of the ravages of disappointment and divorce; a poignant consideration of the rites of fatherhood and manhood; a novel soaked in rage and sex, longing and despair; and a passionate love letter to the world of theater, A Bright Ray of Darkness showcases Ethan Hawke's gifts as a novelist as never before.
Hawke's narrator is a young man in torment, disgusted with himself after the collapse of his marriage, still half-hoping for a reconciliation that would allow him to forgive himself and move on as he clumsily, and sometimes hilariously, tries to manage the wreckage of his personal life with whiskey and sex. What saves him is theater: in particular, the challenge of performing the role of Hotspur in a production of Henry IV under the leadership of a brilliant director, helmed by one of the most electrifying — and narcissistic — Falstaff's of all time. Searing, raw, and utterly transfixing, A Bright Ray of Darkness is a novel about shame and beauty and faith, and the moral power of art.
"Ethan Hawke is a true writer and his duality as an artist is skillfully reflected in A Bright Ray of Darkness. Hawke circles, descends, and crawls into his characters skin. Grimy shadows pass over the footlights, into the bowels of the theatre, where a struggling actor, perhaps mirroring the writer, seeks the vine of redemption, and claws his way into becoming. Bright Ray is a riveting work."
"[An] intriguing character study of faith, masculinity, and celebrity....[A]n enthralling portrayal of a beleaguered actor's struggles to balance his life and the physical and mental toll of a Broadway production." Booklist
"A brilliant insider's account of the joys and terrors of acting, the trials of celebrity, and the secrets of Henry IV." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
A four-time Academy Award nominee, twice for writing and twice for acting, Ethan Hawke has starred in the films Dead Poets Society, Reality Bites, Gattaca, and Training Day, as well as Richard Linklater's Before Sunrise trilogy and Boyhood. He is the author of Rules for a Knight, The Hottest State, and Ash Wednesday. He lives in Brooklyn with his four children and his wife.