Edward J. Rathke (http://edwardjrathke.com/) released the book Noir: A Love Story on Civil Coping Mechanisms this past summer. It’s a detectiveless detective tale sifting through 26 perspectives in order to find the truth behind two deaths, one town that exists nowhere, and what it means to have a dream.
Edward’s memoir, Transdimensional Transgender Transubstantiation, came out in October 2014, and an existential fantasy novel, Twilight of the Wolf (Perfect Edge Books), in March 2014. His novella, Girl With Ears & Demon With Limps, came out in February of the same year. Edward’s first book, Ash Cinema (KUBOA Press) was published in 2012.
1: Which literary genre, if any, influenced Noir: A Love Story the most, and why?
There are a lot of things that influenced Noir: A Love Story, and surprisingly few of them are literary, actually. It’s very influenced by experimental literature, but only those that experiment in a structural way. There’s little being done to the sentence in the novel, but the structure’s where it gets pretty playful.
There were three main goals: I wanted to write a novel that could be read in any order, where the narrative to happen completely off the page, and that was built on dissonance.
Those were the driving forces here and I’m still surprised it came out as well as it did. I wrote this in five days, and the biggest part of the editing process was taking these 26 narrators and stitching them into an order that I felt was dynamic and captivating. Because of the way I built the novel [and it was very much an act of building], the real narrative movement is one of contradiction, and the reader must build the narrative, and create it for themselves, because I’m largely just dropping breadcrumbs to lead you out of the forest.
The biggest influences, though, were film and music. Especially Max Richter’s From the Art of Mirrors and Wong Kar Wai’s filmography, but especially In the Mood for Love and 2046. Also Terrence Malick and Kim Ki-duk and Andrei Zvyagintsev and Olafur Arnalds and Prokofiev and Zhang Yimou and Christopher Doyle and Shigeru Umebayashi and Zbigniew Preisner and Abel Korzeniowski and hundreds more.
2: What’s the best thing about writing? The worst?
The best thing is when you’re flying on the keyboard and you’re not really writing anymore but just trying to keep up with the visions hurricaning past you. It becomes more an act of translation than anything else, and I’m just trying desperately to tie the visions to the page. And then there’s the calm that comes when you’ve spent all day at the keyboard and you have forty or so pages to show for it.
The worst is how I plummet out of the real world. I stop eating or sleeping or doing anything. I write in marathon sprints so if I’m noveling, that’s all I’m doing for a week. Not really time to be a real person. And then when I’m not writing, there’s the constant ache and wailing within me telling me to get these stories down.