twilight of the wolves released today

Twilight of the Wolves - Edward J. Rathke

It’s finally available! Buy Twilight of the Wolves and earn my forever love! If you want to read more about the novel, click over to the page devoted to it where you can find reviews and so on. It’s being released by Perfect Edge Books, the brainchild of Phil Jourdan.


–Kyle Muntz, author of VII and Green Lights

Twilight of the Wolves is an unusual and poetic epic fantasy, with a world, civilizations, and mythologies all of its own, yet unmistakably reminiscent of our past and current world. Best of all, Twilight of the Wolves puts on center stage the people and socioeconomic classes who are often marginalized, suppressed, or overlooked in other types of epic fantasy and secondary worlds, in a passionate and compassionate study of love, languages, and humanness.

Berit Ellingsen, author of Beneath the Liquid Skin

I think these two blurbs capture exactly how it feels to me, and exactly what it means to me. I’ve always said that I’m more influenced, stylistically, by film than I am by literature, and I’ve always strived to capture that beautiful cinematic poetry of Terrence Malick, and I think, with this novel, I finally reached it. It’s an aesthetic I’ve worked for years to reach, and Twilight of the Wolves is the most perfect representation of that. And then there’s all the postcolonialism surging up through the cracks in the novel. My whole life is in this novel. My entire heart. I’m so immensely proud of it that I want to share it with the entire world, but a part of me fears no one will love or understand it.

So, yeah, I hope you love it. I’d recommend it to fans of experimental and postmodern literature as well as people who just love fantasy. It’s everything I ever wanted one of my novels to be and I’m so very proud of it.

Kyle Muntz also had this to say today over on the book of faces:

I’d add that this book stretches fantasy to the limit–with beautiful writing, formal experimentation, lots of feeling, and a profound look at themes of post-colonialism and sexuality–while always remaining true to the genre, which I think is really important and difficult to do.

Basically: I hope everyone takes a look at this book. I think anyone who does will definitely enjoy it.

So don’t just take my word for it! Mostly, I hope people just give it a chance. I’ve found that publishing a fantasy novel on a literary press is sort of a marketing tool fighting against itself. Literary minded folk aren’t interested and fantasy folk think it’s too high-minded, or something. I think it’s a blending of the two, and I hope it’s enjoyable to fans of both high literary genre and gritty fantasy.

It’s not a book for everyone, but I think it should work well for fans of Ursula K Le Guin, Samuel R Delany, Gene Wolfe, China Mieville, Steven Erikson, and George RR Martin.

Also, join me tomorrow night for my first and maybe last reading ever at The Beat Coffeehouse in Uptown, Minneapolis.

And now promotion for the next novel already begins. I have some amazing secret news about that too.

human after all

I woke up at 3pm. I don’t know if I’ll get any writing done today.

Man, even typing that just bummed me out a lot. I really really really need to finish this fucking thing. Two weeks is too long to live in this squalor where I don’t eat or sleep and everything’s covered in dust and my body’s falling apart. I’ve lost eight pounds. From writing. I bruised my index finger. From typing. I don’t know how people can stand to work on novels even this long. It’s driving me crazy, up the walls, through the window to the ground six stories down. Everything’s dirty and I eat only nothing. Only the strange things. Only enough to keep from starving. I sleep only for moments. In my head all day are demons. Demons demons demons. Wolves and demons and seven moons flashing, two suns rolling, and these eunuchs crawling through the shadows. To write is to live within dreams and the dreams stampede. I can’t do it! I just can’t handle living in this constructed reality, even if i’m the author, weaving all of reality, turning the demons into words, pulling them from the sky to put upon the page. It’s a nightmare! Every day, caught in these fever dreams, this delirium, the world grows strange and it expands beyond my skull to take all that surrounds me. I had an incredibly intense discussion about Virginia Woolf and James Joyce and William Faulkner last night across three bars and four hours because that’s how I spend Halloween in Korea, I guess, and it ended with the gentleman trying to take me home, which is always awkward, and all I could think about was Aya, my Aya, this fearsome little heroine who’s had nothing go right for very long and I felt so bad that I ruined her life with each word. The moon was a sliver in my eye and there are no stars in Korea so I didn’t cry but just went home alone where my apartment was waiting and I need to eat but there’s no food and spending money seems, for some reason, ludicrous, and I’d rather avoid it as I sent all of my money home so I only have about $100 to last me the next week and a half, and it’s weird for me to feel that’s a small amount when, even just a year ago, i spent less than that in a month. I lived for four years with $5-$60 of cash for a month. I’m used to being hungry, to being thirsty, but Korea’s made me indulgent, giving myself to whim and fancy. But at least I;m not longer haunted, or the ghosts are kind enough to let me be for a while. But these words pile up to the sky! It’s inconceivable. I don’t know if I have the stamina to write a novel this length again. 77k at the moment with probably only 1-2k left until the ending but then maybe ten need to be grafted to its spine, which, yeah, bump that word pile higher. And that’s the real thing, keeping it all in my head. I’ll get midsentence moving forward and a scene will punch me in the face and I need to go fifty pages back and put it in, realising that it’s one of those crucial moments that the whole thing hinges on. I’ve cried three times while writing this book. Three time! Writing blearyeyed, hoping to make the pain stop, to stop hurting these irreal people, these demons and gods. It hurts my heart. I can’t bear it. To hurt them is not to love them. To hurt is to hurt and I’ve ruined their lives. I broke them apart for the necessity of drama, for the illusion of story and character. Life is brutal and it scars us so. And so I’ve scarred them, my reluctant heroes. All of them hounded by forces beyond their comprehension. A man who became a demon through the misunderstandings between humans and gods. He tried to save it and as a gift the god unwittingly ruined his life, took all that was human away from him. He saved a girl from a fire and raised her, only to make her demon, too. And then with his life he made her human, which only disassembled everything she had ever known. To be human was to destroy all that she was but being a father is hard, especially when you’re not human. And then my poor little eunuch, found burying the dead and taken by the silent monks to be one of them, to be the hands and mouths of Death incarnate, ushering all bodies to the endless Ocean, to the Goddess dreaming reality. His is a search to be human, to find all that he has lost and so he haunts the girl and the demon man and gives all that he is to break from the chains binding him to the immortal. He steps from Death into Life and so he is left with nothing, a place between where he will dwell alone forever. And it breaks my tiny birdheart, these people crushed by the weight of an indifferent fate. Because Life has no favorites and it sweeps us all along, kicking and screaming. And beyond all of these characters, there’s the pain of existence, the destruction of the masses and the hate of their masters. I’ve put so much inside of the sentences that my life stops existing independent from the page and it’s crippling. It hurts. And it needs to finish so I can leave it behind, live and breathe again, but maybe not today. I feel half a man, swollen by an ocean of alcohol and pretty girls who say kind things to me. But I don’t want them. I want none of them. I want nothing and no one. I want my words. I want them endlessly and irresistibly. I want them. I need them. More than the skin of another to drown in, more than the sea of their emotions and the beauty of their hearts and minds. More than all, I need these words. They sustain me. They make me real. I breathe and exist only for these hollow words that I pulse into the pages. I pull them from the demons and visions that surround me, that kill me, that give me life. I’m out of my mind with terror and beauty but the page makes me real. With these words I become human. And all these quests, all these words in this novel, people trying desperately to become human, maybe it’s all me and my constant desire deep at the core of me to one day be human, too. To look at my species, not as strangers, but as sisters. To recognise the self in the other and for that to be enough. To be human. To be one with all of these awful and miserable creatures. What else could it be? The search for love, for understanding, all of that’s secondary. The search for humanity in this vast void of inhumane creatures, suiciding the species and murdering the planet.

One day I’ll be human. It will be a good day.