I traveled to Brooklyn last night. Zoe Kazan was interviewing Ethan Hawke at St. Ann’s church ⛪️ about his new book and as a card carrying Gen Xer, I had to be there. You probably know Ethan from Dead Poets Society or his many other films, but acting is just the tip of this dude’s talent iceberg. Renaissance man seems an appropriate title for this novelist, director of films and theater, musician, father, husband ❤️ and from what I could assess in his 45 minute conversation with Zoe, a wonderful friend. I bought a signed copy of his latest book, “A Bright Ray of Darkness” and I look forward to reading it.
I have never read Ethan’s first book, but I made a strong connection with his second novel, “Rules for a Knight” ✍️. As an artist, I was immediately captivated by the design of the book. It is smaller in scale with a green hard cover, gold foil details ⚜️ on the spine and front, and an illustration of what appears to be King Arthur’s sword. The flyleaf and end sheets are printed with a medieval wallpaper pattern sure to be found in ½ the castles in England. A gold foil tassel sewn to the jacket helps the reader keep their place or mark an important passage. The book’s classy vintage charm makes it feel right at home in King Arthur’s library or perhaps even Harry Potter’s. ⚡️ The size of the book seemed intentional once I read it and realized that it was a perfect pocket size so a knight could carry it with them at all times. The illustrations in “Rules for a Knight” are by Ethan’s wife Ryan. Her pencil drawings of birds and a regal coat of arms are the perfect pairing to the exquisite old world typography keeping the book as visually engaging inside as out.
As a parent, “Rules for a Knight” was a gift for inspiring many conversations about ethics and morality with my daughter. The narrator of the book, Sir Thomas Lemuel Hawke (a noble knight), is writing a guide to life for his children as he fears he will not return from battle. We were captivated from the first page and have read it and referred back to it many times. This little sophisticated book is great for anyone navigating life and searching for a code of honor whatever their age. I give it as a gift to kids in my social circle on their 8th or 9th birthdays.
As a fan, I know I am going to enjoy reading “A Bright Ray of Darkness” because Ethan Hawke is a wonderful storyteller. I witnessed his storytelling chops in person last night in Brooklyn as he talked about his work, in the theater on Broadway as Lee in Sam Shepard’s play True West and as a director documenting the story of an eccentric New Yorker (my favorite kind) and classical pianist Seymour Bernstein in the film “Seymour: an introduction”. Moral of this story… buy Ethan’s new book and pick up “Rules for a Knight” while you’re at it. Tell them Laura Loving sent you. ❤️