Order direct for a signed copy. $19.95 (orders outside USA will be charged cost of shipping) Isbn 9781948509039, 260pgs
$19.95, 9781948509039, 264pgs
NEWS: Purchase the companion limited edition letterpress work 53 Lines
Maintenance Ends press presents: Voices after Evelyn. This novel seeks not so much to dig up a cold case—the 1953 disappearance of La Crosse, Wisconsin, babysitter Evelyn Hartley—as reopen its heart. A fugue of voices across time (cracked, offensive, profound) reverberating toward today, when the phantoms of so-called innocence and greatness grow scarier than anything that took Evelyn away. An unsolved crime that jaundiced the way a town saw itself and its relationship to the outside world is rendered into a polyphonic, farcical, yet accurate visitation to the 1950s Midwest, where banality and inspired caprice make for an odd mix of the hilarious and terrifying.
Praise For Voices After Evelyn:
“Rick Harsch is America’s lost Midwest noir genius, an heir to the more lurid Faulkner… Voices After Evelyn is a fictional take on true crime, and its bloody heart, in the real, still-unsolved 1953 disappearance of Wisconsin babysitter Evelyn Hartley. Harsch makes us look at other victims, survivors too, and throughout the novel, a Greek-style chorus sings of rage and loss and puzzlement. Voices After Evelyn is taut and funny, smart and haunting, enraging and true.”
— Daniel A. Hoyt, author of This Book Is Not for You and Then We Saw the Flames: Stories
“This wild ‘murder ballad’ of a novel floats out of 1953 America on the voices of barflies, petty bandits, villains, miscreants, malcontents, reporters, a cop or two, high school kids, as well as one Peter Kurten, a German murderer only rhizomatically connected to the milieu. They all knew—or knew of—Evelyn Hartley, the 15-year-old babysitter kidnapped and vanished on Oct. 24, 1953. Rick Harsch’s Voices After Evelyn is more than an astonishing act of ventriloquy, more than Myles Na Gopaleen meeting Roberto Bolaño in a small Wisconsin town on the Mississippi to rehash an infamous mystery. These voices murmur and groan, whisper and assent, limning an edge of the American nightmare, refracted light on currents of deep water, a discordant and disturbing polyvocal ‘Night Music’ from the heartland, the Midwest that Fitzgerald called ‘that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic [roll] on under the night.’”
— Sesshu Foster, author of Atomik Aztex
“Rick Harsch is a prophet and a cuss of a writer. In Voices After Evelyn, he delivers an indelible fever dream of 1950s Wisconsin, when America was supposedly great. We all know now—after Scott Walker, and the 2016 presidential vote totals—that the voices in this book are warnings. But Harsch knew first. And anyone who reads this remarkable, insatiable novel will be thrilled by the experience. Harsch writes the way David Lynch would if Lynch wasn’t so mainstream.”
— Whitney Terrell, author of The Good Lieutenant
“Through multiple viewpoints and dialogue that outpace racing thought, Harsch reveals a society of basement dwellers and back-of-the-house defenestrators hanging their sense of well-being on slender slivers of hope, each of them burdened with perpetuating the mystery of a murder any one of them—or any one of us—could have committed.”
— Anne Kniggendorf (Chicago Review of Books, Smithsonian, KCUR 89.3)
“…a heartbroken, busted-up American version of the Greek chorus. Harsch brilliantly evokes each voice in its peculiar singularity, while seamlessly weaving it into a tapestry (and moving the plot forward—no mean feat). Make no mistake, even with its abundant humor, this chorus sings backup to a tragedy… a human-scale one, as well as cultural: the tragedy of an America still refusing to come to terms with its noir, its cast shadow…”
— Dorian Falco (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Rick Harsch appeared on the American literary scene in 1997 with the cult classic The Driftless Zone, followed by Billy Verite and Sleep of the Aborigines (all Steerforth Press) to form The Driftless Trilogy. Born and bred in the Midwest, Harsch received degrees in sociology and history from UW La Crosse and lived there off and on for 22 years. He migrated to the Slovene coastal city of Izola in 2001, Rick is also author of Arjun and the Good Snake (2011, Amalietti & Amaliette), Wandering Stone: The Streets of Old Izola (2017, Mandrac Press), and The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas (2018, River Boat Books). The author lives in Izola still, with his wife and two children. He teaches about 100 hours a year at a maritime academy in Trieste, and has co-authored numerous scientific works in the maritime field.