‘Ethan Hawke is a true writer and his duality as an artist is skilfully 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.‘ PATTI SMITH
‘Ethan Hawke, whose acting career has combined celebrity wattage with indie integrity, brings hard-won experience to his latest literary endeavour … [A] wild ride of a book … Written with real fire & originality. Not many novels combine scenes of lying semi-conscious by a motel toilet with thoughts on the perfection of the iambic pentameter.’ Metro
Chosen for Best New Fiction Books in the Mail on Sunday
Chosen for NS Recommends in New Statesman
The first novel in nearly twenty years from the acclaimed actor/writer/director, A BRIGHT RAY OF DARKNESS is a book about art and love, fame and heartbreak — a blistering story of a young man making his Broadway debut 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 theatre, 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 whisky and sex. What saves him is the theatre: in particular, the challenge of performing Shakespeare in his Broadway debut under the leadership of a brilliant director. 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.
‘William is the star of this vivid drama from Ethan Hawke … this is ultimately a book about the transcendent value of great art … it communicates a real power.’ Sunday Times
‘Hawke has obeyed the adage ‘write what you know’, bringing the theatrical world, from first rehearsal to final performance, thrillingly to life.’ Mail on Sunday