Ethan Hawke’s Hottest State is a tale of obsessive love set in New York (and Paris) when William (’20 sexy, confident’) meets Sarah and they embark on a relationship which really is roller-coaster like. Through it we explore William’s relationship with his mother, absent-father and with himself. It’s clever yet not distant, sensitive but not sentimental but, ironically given the title, left this reader a little cold. The Hottest State is entertaining and well-written but capturing that painful, gut-wrenching emotion that is obsessive first love must be hard for any novelist and Hawke doesn’t quite pull the reader in. As a reader you will observe William but you will not become emotionally attached and Sarah’s quirkiness – which initially seems endeering – eventually distances you from her leaving William’s obsessive feelings a mystery. Despite those reservations, Ethan Hawke’s first novel suggests a promising career as novelist.
As a reader you will observe William but you will not become emotionally attached.