Noir: A Love Story is a detective novel without a detective, a polyphonic shift between twenty-six perspectives in an attempt to find the truth behind two deaths: a young woman burned alive at a crowded intersection, and a man hanging lifeless from an ancient tree. From modern America to an ancient culture lost in its depths, from faith to nationalism, a cacophony of men and women who never knew these two—and the few that almost did—tell a story of lives transformed, one town that exists nowhere, and what it means to have a dream.
“In this novel of desire and doom, with its collision of voices and a femme fatale who dresses in the dreams of everyone around her, Rathke is the best kind of possessed writer—the kind who has the courage of his possession, whose exorcised words exist in defiance of their author.”
—Steve Erickson, author of Zeroville
“In Noir, Rathke exposes the pale, sickly underbelly of a vibrant utopia for all to see. He unravels the quiet metaphysics of the detective thriller by letting all of the witnesses carry equal weight. Rathke has a faith in his reader that makes the experience of reading his work one full of extraordinary rewards and teeming satisfaction.”
—Jac Jemc, author of My Only Wife
“Noir: A Love Story is a surreal space held together by wonder and love, the kind of love like holding your breath underwater to see the bright wonders of the sea just a bit longer, a prolonged and incandescent lyricism that signifies a brutalized and beautiful honesty of a single, elusive dream. The book’s narrative lives on as an impression or sustained note, the possessed writer who haunts the reader with his sublime vision, the reader who in turn remains haunted and unknowable. Indeed: ‘Time eats you. Dead or dreaming.’”
—Janice Lee, author of Damnation
“Edward J Rathke’s Noir: A Love Story comes on like Rashomon in overdrive, leaping giddily from folklore to metaphysical mystery, philosophical aperçu to Bukowskian spiel, dream journal to ideological critique, and somehow equally comfortable and adroit in each mode. Teetering between the urgency of present moments and the thrum of the primordial and timeless, Noir boldly documents the jarring, involuntary coming of age of a community and its denizens, demanding our fullest intellectual engagement but never ceasing to mesmerize.”
—Tim Horvath, author of Understories
EDWARD J RATHKE is the writer of Ash Cinema [KUBOA Press, 2012], Twilight of the Wolves [Perfect Edge Books, 2014], and Noir: A Love Story [Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2014]. He is an editor at The Lit Pub and Monkeybicycle.