The Alchemy of Noise
Lorraine Devon Wilke (Author)
Description2019 Readers' Favorite Awards Gold Medal Winner in Fiction (Literary) 2019 Best Book Awards Finalist in Fiction (Literary) 2019 International Book Awards, Finalist, Fiction (Multicultural) 2020 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award Fiction Finalist in Multicultural 2019 Foreword Indie Finalist in Adult Fiction: Multicultural 2019 Nautilus Book Awards Silver Winner in Fiction "Infused with beauty, humor, and pain, The Alchemy of Noise is a modern American love story that asks if love can bridge the distance between two Americas." --Laura Nicole Diamond, author of Shelter Us and Deliver Me
In a world so full of lonely people and broken hearts, Chris Hawkins, a black sound engineer from Chicago's south side, and Sidonie Frame--white, suburban-raised, the head manager of one of the city's most elite venues--meet by work-related happenstance and fall quickly in love, convinced that by that act alone they can inspire peace, joy, and happiness in the world around them. The world, however, has other ideas.
Their meeting is serendipitous. Chris, who owns and runs his company, largely spends his time surrounded by members of his own community; Sidonie, conversely, is rarely outside the environs of work and its predominantly white staff and clientele. But when the club's sound manager goes AWOL on the night of a big event and Chris is hired to come in as a last-minute replacement, their destinies collide.
Immediately drawn to each other, they fall quickly into an unexpected and thrilling relationship, inspiring myriad reactions amongst family and friends on both sides of the racial divide. But even as their love story evolves, day-to-day tensions, police disruptions, and the microaggressions Chris constantly encounters as a black man in the gritty environs of Chicago become a cultural flashpoint, challenging Sidonie's privileged worldview and Chris's ability to translate the unfolding events. After a random and gut-wrenching series of police encounters shakes their resilience, it's the shattering circumstance of a violent arrest--one in which Chris is identified as a serial vandal and potential rapist--that sends their world into free fall.
He claims his innocence; she believes him. But the forces pushing against them are many and oppressive. With a looming trial, the dissipating loyalties of key allies, and unforeseen twists triggering doubt and suspicion, Sidonie and Chris are driven to question what they really know of each other and just whom to trust, leading to a powerful and emotional conclusion.
Lorraine Devon Wilke's third novel, The Alchemy of Noise, ventures beyond the humor and pathos of family drama explored so cleverly in her first two novels to dig deep into the politics of contemporary culture. At its heart a love story, it explores the complexity of race in a suspenseful drama driven by issues of privilege, prejudice, police profiling and legal entanglements, and the disparities in how those provocative themes impact the various and diverse characters involved.
She Writes Press
April 09, 2019
6.0 X 1.0 X 8.9 inches | 1.1 pounds
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About the Author
Lorraine Devon Wilke is an accomplished writer in several genres, a Chicago native, and third of eleven children. In 2010 she launched her "arts & politics" blog, Rock+Paper+Music, and since 2011 she has been a popular contributor at HuffPost and other news and media sites. Known for her "sass and sensibility," her work has been reprinted and excerpted in academic tomes, nonfiction books, and literary journals; a catalogue of select articles can be found at Contently.com. Both her award-wining novels, After The Sucker Punch and Hysterical Love, are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. After leaving Illinois with a rock band heading west, Devon Wilke landed in Los Angeles, where she still lives with her husband, attorney/writer/producer, Pete Wilke. She's working on a fourth novel, a rock-and-roll dramedy titled A Minor Rebellion, while continuing her endeavors as a photographer, singer/songwriter, and actress. To learn more, visit www.lorrainedevonwilke.com.
2019 Readers' Favorite Awards Gold Medal Winner in Fiction (Literary) 2019 Best Book Awards Finalist in Fiction (Literary) 2019 International Book Awards, Finalist, Fiction (Multicultural) "Wilke's prose is cautious and empathetic, probing at the edges of politeness, taboo, and uncomfortable truth. . . the directness and openness with which the author explores the topic, as well as its continuing relevance, make this a novel that will still read as daring to many." --Kirkus Reviews "Wilke's story will satisfy readers with its emotional depth and strong characters, making for a memorable novel." --Publishers Weekly "A story on fresh beginnings marred by police brutality, The Alchemy of Noise tests the limits of love. Lorraine Devon Wilke's sharp interracial romance strikes at the heart of contemporary race issues with thoughtful, vulnerable characters who excavate their own beliefs to reaffirm what's worth fighting for." --Foreword Reviews "The writing is emotive and highly descriptive, painting snippets of life for Chris as he struggles with the everyday racism and assumptions put upon young black men all across America, and Sidonie's struggle to connect and understand is intelligently handled. Neither of them is perfect, but together they find something special of their own. Wilke's superb pacing and frank dialogue guide us through every harrowing moment as they fight hard to protect it. Overall, The Alchemy of Noise is a highly entertaining and engaging piece of drama which shines a light on pivotal issues of today." --Readers' Favorite "12 Can't-Miss Books by Women to Read This Year--In this devastating and touching new novel from Lorraine Devon Wilke, two unlikely lovers find themselves in the middle of a corrupt investigation that will change their lives forever." --Brit + Co "This is not a run-of-the-mill love story. But Lorraine Devon Wilke is not a run-of-the-mill writer. The Alchemy of Noise, a powerful interracial romance with rich, cinematic quality, is gritty, clever, and superbly crafted, sustaining a gut-wrenching level of tension until the final page." --Jane Davis, award-winning author of Smash All the Windows and nine other titles "Every character was authentic. Sidonie and Chris have great depth; they're real-life people, and I wanted them to overcome, for their love to prevail. The plot line was great as well. The microaggressions, the hidden and overt racism, the passive-aggressive low-key racism--it was all in there, all very plausible and realistic. The book is a sort of Racism 101, an eye-opener for allies." --Regina McRae, BLM activist, award-winning baker/owner of NYC bakery Grandma's Secrets, and author of Taking the Cake: Your Ultimate Cake Guide "Beautifully written, perfectly balanced, and evenly paced, The Alchemy of Noise, Devon Wilke's story of love, redemption, and racial conflict in the shadow of contemporary urban America, is a tour-de-force from an author at the top of her game." --Mark Barry, author of The Night Porter and Carla "A powerful novel that wraps the love story of a mixed-race couple in a 'ripped from the headlines' narrative, The Alchemy of Noise is alternately touching, painful, sweet, and enraging. With its exploration of race and privilege and stunning, unexpected plot twists, it demands your attention from beginning to end." --Susie Singer Carter, award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter of My Mom & the Girl and Soul Surfer "An impactful story about race, equality and love, The Alchemy of Noise has quickly become a highly-buzzed-about read in the vast community of female writers." --Working Mother magazine "Reading this combination love story and page-turning legal drama, I was particularly moved by the exploration of the psychological and emotional impacts of racism on each of the characters. The Alchemy of Noise dives into those issues in new, unexamined ways, and as a professional working in the field of PTSD and family trauma, I found that element to be a powerful and authentic driver of this very topical story." --Nancy Locke Capers, writer/producer and licensed psychotherapist "A fascinating book, really, really quite something . . . a real Chicago novel. I do find something quite courageous about this book. It's not only terribly provocative and moves like a freight train, but it's a very, very, very ambitious book." --Rick Kogan, senior reporter for the Chicago Tribune and host of WGN Radio's After Hours with Rick Kogan "Infused with beauty, humor, and pain, The Alchemy of Noise is a modern American love story that asks if love can bridge the distance between two Americas. Author Lorraine Devon Wilke writes with authenticity, insight, sensitivity. Her characters Sidonie and Chris (and the loved ones in their orbit) stayed with me like old friends whose success I am rooting for but is in no way guaranteed in a world where skin color may be destiny." --Laura Nicole Diamond, author of Shelter Us and Deliver Me "The story of Sidonie, a white woman, and Chris, a black man, is a well-written and compelling tale of love that offers a glimpse into the unique experiences couples face in interracial relationships. When allegations of criminal activity are lodged against Chris, the two are forced into a confusing and frightening reality that shakes them to their very cores. The Alchemy of Noise is an intense emotional journey, and Wilke masterfully guides us through it with laughter, tears, and thought-provoking insight." --Kimberley A. Johnson, author of Peyton's Choice and The Virgin Diaries "The Alchemy of Noise is an honest, empathetic, and powerful look at racial tensions in modern America, explored through one interracial couple's burgeoning relationship--and how it plays on the concerns and assumptions of their friends and families. The writing is excellent, the characters full and real and conflicted--just like life." --Laurie Boris, author of The Call: A Baseball Novel and A Sudden Gust of Gravity "Lorraine Devon Wilke's The Alchemy of Noise includes brushstrokes of nightlife, music, the club world--true-ringing elements that too often in the lit game are swung at and missed. Her portrait of Chicago as a representation of contemporary urban culture is so vivid it stands as a character all its own." --Junior Burke, author of A Thousand Eyes and Something Gorgeous "An entertaining while scathing commentary about race relations in America, The Alchemy of Noise is an entertaining love story and so much more. The author's take on inherent and systemic racism, something her characters are challenged with daily, sounds authentic and credible. In that regard, it is an important book that deserves a larger audience. The book itself is a pleasure to read with believable dialogue, fully developed characters and exceptionally good diction, something that's becoming increasingly rare. The plot is well crafted, and try as I might I couldn't find one scene that didn't develop character or advance the plot, or both." --Rod Raglin, Reedsy Discovery "The Alchemy of Noise is a novel in which boy meets girl, and essentially it has a love story at its heart. But it is so much more than that . . . The exploration of all the relationships in this novel is excellent--the characters rich and rounded, the way they react and interact absorbing. It is very well written. It's intelligent, educational, and eye-opening, though still easy to read, the prose flowing and drawing you in. The Alchemy of Noise is an excellent novel I thoroughly enjoyed and don't hesitate for a moment to recommend." --Georgia Rose, author of The Grayson Trilogy "Devon Wilke weaves The Alchemy of Noise with an intelligent pen of compassion and soulfulness. Her characters are all relatable, and you will find yourself transported inside the torn social fabric of our contemporary world to first-person perspectives of family matters, addiction, police brutality, and racism. . . . Deftly executed with grace and the author's own keen sensibilities, the story left me wishing it would never end." --JanniStyles1