What is Ash Cinema?
Well, first, I suppose, it’s a novel I wrote December 2010 over the course of three weekends spread over that month. It’s the third novel I’ve finished but the first to be published. It will be published here, at KUBOA: an arthouse press, which is Pablo and Sarah D’Stair’s publishing house. It’s aimed at availability, which is why the price is so low for paperbacks and so free for electronic copies of the books. I doubt I’ll ever meet a publisher whom I agree with more concerning the availability and presentation of art, so it’s very cool to be working with Pablo.
But what is Ash Cinema about?
I knew I wanted to write three novellas. I knew I wanted them to be about different forms of love and Death. What those two words mean, how we relate to them, why they matter so much. And so they are very much about loving and dying, both the act and the idea. But, maybe much more than that and completely unexpected, they’re about film. Or maybe even more succinctly, they’re about stories. What it means to tell a story, to have a story, to believe in one, to create one, to be one. And so, of course, it became about me and every page sort of accidentally is me, and probably that all leads to the filmmaker, Sebastian Falke, who hides at the center of all of this.
But, to sum it up in a book jacket kind of way [and I’ve not done this yet, so this is very off the top kind of writing]:
Ash Cinema is a triptych novel about loving and dying, about creation and destruction, about chasing ghosts and making them real. Regressing through time from the fires at Cannes’ shore to the trees deep in america back to the west coast sunsets, Sebastian Falke’s visions and dreams haunt the future that forgot him and his handful of films lost to time.
Who is Sebastian Falke?
A question I keep asking myself, but maybe you won’t have to.
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—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.–
—Suffice to say there’s a mythic and timeless ebb to the relationships that showcases Rathke’s dreamy imagination perfectly. The barriers of death are meaningless in the world he has created. I absolutely love this kind of thing.–
—Once upon a time, writers were described in terms of their “vision.” “Vision” implied overtones more of purpose and truth, than technique or style. A writer with “vision” could sometimes break through the noise of the crowd—someone who knew why he or she wrote a particular story. I believe Ash Cinema fits this description.–
—Putting aside the skillful lines of the prose for a moment, the emotion of this novel is what impressed me most. It came across so forcefully to me, so pure. It felt like the pages, and the psyches of the various three narrators, was bleeding as I read. Reading was actually emotionally wearying, but cathartic. All three stories, tremendous loss and the unquenchable need to reclaim, blew me away.—
—Cinema, film-making, and music become parables for the emotions that rage in the three different lives and I found myself going along for the ride, sucked along in a stream of emotion that made for a compelling read. There were lines I read over and over, just to grasp at the details, the way Rathke blurs the intersections between life, cinema, and tragedy.—