by Nicholas Karpuk, from Goodreads:
Edward Rathke walks a tightrope through most of Ash Cinema. I kept waiting for the pacing to collapse, for the stylized writing style to become masturbatory rather than merely indulgent. It was a waveform that seemed perpetually about to collapse.
But it doesn’t.
That’s the damndest thing. He never goes overboard and for all its ambition and need to describe thoroughly abstract concepts it never wallows in any one notion long enough for me to lose my patience. Rathke explores some pretty big concepts, and in attitude almost seems like a tiny dog trying to bite a giant beach ball, and yet you can’t help admire the determination and effort. For a literary novel he does an excellent job of not boring me.
Maybe it’s because of my recent interest in blues artist Robert Johnson, but I can’t sympathize for the issues of all three protagonists, who all have a tie in some form or another to elusive experimental artist Sebastian Falke. Falke’s films as they are described sound like the most utterly squirm-inducing, watch-checking sort of movie experience, but the story really gives you a sense of why these characters are drawn to the work all the same.
It ends on a surprisingly complete note. Normally I just consider the end where the novel stops, so when I actually find myself satisfied at the close of a novel, it’s noteworthy. Mr. Rathke has created a complete work here, one which is well worth the time of any reader.