The Alchemy of Noise: A Novel

The Alchemy of Noise: A Novel

by Lorraine Devon Wilke

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“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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631525605
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication date: 04/09/2019
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 637,136
File size: 2 MB

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 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

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The Alchemy of Noise: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
RodRaglin 10 months ago
An entertaining while scathing commentary about race relations in America. Sidonie Frame is the manager one of Chicago’s buzziest small concert and event venues. When her sound manager goes AWOL along with essential equipment she has her assistant bring in another company to fill in temporarily. Chris Hawkins is owner of Sound Alchemy and immediately he and Sidonie have a connection. Author Lorraine Devon Wilke tells the story from two points of view and establishes her protagonists as equals in regards to education, income and aspirations. The only difference, other than gender, is Chris is black and Sidonie’s white. Temporary work becomes permanent and friendship turns to love for Chris and Sid. The last thing they think about is the colour of each other’s skin, but that’s not the case for some friends and family members. This is upsetting for Sidonie, but not surprising and she’s prepared to deal with it. What she isn’t prepared for or incapable of handling is the reality of a black man living in America. Here’s how Wilke has her character, Sidonie, express it. “What I didn’t know then is that by falling in love with you I would be stepping from my world into yours. Or maybe, more accurately, straddling both. I didn’t know that because I didn’t fully realize there were two worlds, two really distinct worlds with different sets of rules ...” 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.
ReadersFavorite 11 months ago
Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite The Alchemy of Noise is a work of literary dramatic fiction penned by author Lorraine Devon Wilke. Written for adults due to its complex themes and mild but mature content, this is a love story and family drama taking the day to day struggle of American life into context. Chris Hawkins and Sidonie Frame both work in Chicago and its surrounds, but their lives couldn’t be more different. When Chris is seconded to work at Sidonie’s elite club for the night, the sound engineer falls head over heels for the manager. But their relationship is fraught with the everyday drama of hidden racial class divides, Chris’s unwilling involvement with the Chicago police, and families who struggle to accept the coming together of two very different souls. Author Lorraine Devon Wilke brings interracial relationships to the fore in this modern love story which shows us, sadly, that things haven’t progressed anywhere near as much we’d like to think they have. 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.
Brendasperlin More than 1 year ago
“Move your hands away from your pocket.! Now! Now!!” Two guns are pointed within inches of Chris’s head as another officer swoops in to grab the hand reaching into his pocket. The video pauses— The Alchemy of Noise: A Novel by Lorraine Devon Wilke is a readable romance/drama where the brutalities of life come into focus early on. The topic of racism is clearly drawn at the forefront. This author writes with sophistication and her heart on her sleeve. Told with a deep sense of emotion that makes me certain this storyline hits close to home. Less fiction and more true life. A sad truth, but life can be harsh and there are moments in this book that don’t spare us from that. Not that we need to hide from what is right in front of our faces. It’s an uncomfortable reality that feels wrong especially in the twenty-first century. Haven’t we learned anything from the past? There were unsettling scenes in the story that scream (tick, tick tick) off the pages that left me feeling shame that there is still so much racism in this world. This is a topic that needs to be explored and not swept under the rug. I give the Miss Wilke credit for going there! And with great passion, bravery and humanity.