The Hottest State

Ethan Hawke, Author Little Brown and Company $32 (208p) ISBN 978-0-316-54083-4
Player of confused but adorable Gen X Romeos in films like Reality Bites and Before Sunrise, Hawke, 25, is easily conjured up as a stand-in for 21-year-old William Harding, the disaffected narrator of this slim first novel, a boy-meets-girl, girl-dumps-boy saga set in a grungy New York of aspiring actors, writers and singers. That William, a college dropout and budding actor, falls fast and hard for Sarah Wingfield, who fronts a band, teaches preschool and is a bit ""funny looking,"" comes as a revelation to him, given his history of using his good looks for quick sex. Sarah casts William's sexual yearnings--and his white trash boyhood--into sharp relief by reading Adrienne Rich, toting a list of rape statistics and refusing to sleep with him. Their doomed romance is intercut with William's memories of his parents' breakup, of talks with his best friend and of his overheated teen relationship with Samantha, who still flits in and out of his life. When Sarah suddenly, inexplicably rejects him after William returns from making a movie in Paris, he descends into self-loathing and homosexual panic--and trashes his apartment. His callow cynicism about women and his flattened out, '90s rendition of Holden Caulfield (""Samantha wanted to have sex. She wasn't doing me any goddamn favors"") grow wearisome. But Hawke's emotionally raw account of a world inescapably contracted is oddly affecting and sure to make many a teenage heart go pit-a-pat. Paperback rights to Vintage; audio rights to Time Warner AudioBooks; author tour. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/02/1996
Release date: 10/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
DVD-Video
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-679-78135-6
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-1-57042-399-4
Paperback - 208 pages - 978-0-00-655047-1
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