The Alchemy of Noise is a novel in which boy meets girl and essentially it has a love story at its heart. But it is so much more than that.
Sidonie manages a successful and popular music and events bar. Chris has his own business but steps in to help out the club when the usual sound guy lets them down. Both characters are likeable, honest, reliable and drawn to each other. But they come from very different worlds, because Sidonie is white and Chris is black. It shouldn’t matter, in fact it doesn’t to them, but in the world in which they live thinking that it isn’t going to matter is not that simple.
‘… we can’t know what we don’t experience.’
This, for me, was the crux of the tale. However open minded and empathetic you might think you are, however much you think you understand the world lived from another’s perspective, simply falling in love with someone who is good and kind is not enough. Because when something goes wrong for Chris, and it goes very wrong indeed, Sidonie is brutally awakened to the reality of their life together.
Families either close ranks, or crack, fissures starting to appear in previously strong relationships, as Sidonie finds, to her surprise, and shock, it’s not a given that everyone around her shares the same values she has about race, or the police.
The exploration of all the relationships in this novel is excellent. The characters rich and rounded, the way they react and interact absorbing.
It is very well written. It’s intelligent, educational and eye-opening, though still easy to read, the prose flowing and drawing you in. The Alchemy of Noise is an excellent novel I thoroughly enjoyed and don’t hesitate for a moment to recommend.