A Bright Ray of Darkness: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries)
The blistering story of a young man making his Broadway debut in Henry IV just as his marriage implodes—a "witty, wise, and heartfelt novel" (Washington Post) about art and love, fame and heartbreak from the acclaimed actor/writer/director.
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.
Praise for A Bright Ray of Darkness: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries)
“Explores the demands of acting and the delusions of manhood with tremendous verve and insight...the work of an author who knows every aspect of the profession from the inside... Hawke is a genius at conjuring the hush of the auditorium, the thrill of live actors, the magical sense of a performance moving through time. He’s written a witty, wise, and heartfelt novel... a deeply hopeful story... Bravo.”
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
"Ethan Hawke pens a Valentine to theatre in A Bright Ray of Darkness. His new novel is also a prayer for the stage and a reminder of the healing power of performance."
—The Austin Chronicle
"[Hawke's] writing evokes both the beauty and tawdriness of New York. And he teaches the reader a lot about theater... an engaging book for those who love theater and Shakespeare."
—The Christian Science Monitor
“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.”
“A brilliant insider's account of the joys and terrors of acting, the trials of celebrity, and the secrets of Henry IV.”