» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Ethan Hawke
The Hottest State
Harper Collins

Rating: 5/10 ?

October 15, 1998
No, you're not mistaken, it is that Ethan Hawke. It seems that the Gen-x poster boy for the disaffected and Uma's baby's daddy has been harboring ambitions of becoming a writer. The Hottest State is Hawke's first novel (or literary work in general, as far as I know) and it is pretty obvious that this self-indulgent tome was picked up purely on the basis of name recognition. I don't want to straight away bash Hawke's work with a word processor, because truth be told was actually a pleasurable read (albeit a guilty one). The vote of lazy brain cells aside, however, Hawke's skills could have definitely used some refining or, at the very least, some vigilant proofreading before his manuscript went to the publishers.

The subject matter presented by the respectable theatre performer is pretty much the standard fare in the publishing world - an obsessive first love mixed with some egotist issues - and the results are, in suit, pretty standard as well. William, the main character (who peeks through a thin veil of disguise to read as Hawke's first-person ambassador) is a - gasp - young actor who falls in love with a somewhat-enticing yet white-bread girl named Sarah. There exists the usual background chapters that flash back to poignant moments in young William's formative years, and the cheap romanticism of William and Sarah's adventures in Paris - and then the inevitable breakup that ensues after a month's separation during the filming of William's first major movie. A lot of sex, alcohol and the now rote psychological undercurrents of sexual identity crisis are thrown into the fray as a way to keep the chuckles popping up at regular intervals, but even at 196 pages the pages of size-14 font flip by at a substantial rate. Hawke does, although blantantly, bring up some of the more serious issues of American literature's fancy, such as father-son relations, children of divorce and homophobia, but it is in such a tacky, strategized manner that it really doesn't do much to circulate The Hottest State's cold blood.

As I said, the storyline is pretty predictable and the book does a respectable job of entertaining, but as far as literary worth goes, this is a dead horse. Along with the recycling of 15 or so goofy phrases, Hawke also manages to draw attention to his shortcomings by the inclusion of some glaring errors. For example:

...I got out of bed and put my jeans on to go to the bathroom...

Ten lines later.

...I went back into the bedroom and slid into my jeans...

You'd think they would have at least spent the money on some proper editing before they put this sophomoric effort out on the shelves. But, then again, you'd think a guy would read over his own novel a few times before he turned it in to the publishers, but maybe that is just the perspective of a self-editing fool. I suppose Ethan Hawke must have better things to do! Actually, wait, now that I think about it I'm quite certain he must have better things to do.

If you've got a day of train travel coming up on the heels of an all-night bong party, or you happen to have a handful of hours available for pointless coffee shop loitering, this is as good a book as any to pass the time. It is not, however, a good piece of literature and the only reason I would even rate it would be out of respect for Hawke's filmography. I guess those marketing guys knew what they were doing after all.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth



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