Rainer J. Hanshe, The Acolytes

Eyecorner Press publishes first novel by Hyperion editor
Rainer J. Hanshe, The Acolytes
Some of you will already be familiar with Rainer J. Hanshe for his critical essays, or as the senior editor of Hyperion. What you might not know is that he has just published a novel, The Acolytes, released through Eyecorner Press:

Synopsis: The Acolytes depicts the yearning of the young artist for success, acceptance, fulfillment. Gabriel starts as a naive young man full of dedication to high art and to the transformative powers of the imagination. In Amos, the renegade of American letters and cult figure, Gabriel thinks he has found his guiding star, but Ivan, the charismatic yet sinister theater director exerts a strange, mesmeric power over the author and his entire coterie. Terence, the unobtrusive moral fulcrum of the novel, and a cast of others are unable to escape from the welter of exploitation to which their lack of self-knowledge condemns them.

Praise for The Acolytes

Hanshe’s Aristophanic critique of Amos Latimer and his acolytes and two different modes of discipleship articulates something that can be seen in many other regions of life and society: Plato and Aristotle, Leo Strauss and Arendt, Malcom X and the Nation, and the cult of fame. The fascinating thing, and part of the reason why his account is archetypical in a profound and broadly historically applicable manner, is that the contrast between sharing in speech shamelessly and not sharing is what differentiates the two modes of aesthetics in classical antiquity: the misanthropic and the philanthropic. The Acolytes is a brave work that says something of extraordinary importance for our understanding of political culture and culture more generally. Hanshe faces the issue of sex ontologically in a way that other American writers do not. He joins Burroughs in critically addressing the depths of the question of sexuality and control and brings the parallel that Burroughs wrote about in colonialism and militarism and the CIA to the left wing, avant-garde. A moving and impressive book.

Rachael Sotos, New School University
The Acolytes is a riveting, slightly surreal portrait of the bohemian underworld of New York and it exposes the sinister underside of the ever-beckoning dream of art. It shows with fascinating nuance the multi-faceted nature of artistic ambition, illuminating a range from lofty yearning to diabolical craving for power. It is the kind of work one would not expect from a young American writer today. It is a powerful novel that reverberates in the inner spaces of the self.

Walter H. Sokel, The Writer in Extremis; The Myth of Power & Self: Essays on Kafka
The Acolytes flies in the face of mainstream publishing with its eye on something bigger and vaster than the conventional marketplace. In mode its allegorical approach is so different than the types of Jonathan Franzen “family sagas” that publishers pick up on nowadays. It’s quirky, weird, and mannered and many of the scenes have the strange power of dreams. They proceed according to their own logic, stately as yachts, moving irrevocably, like Time. Like John Cowper Powys, Hanshe has the talent for making other species come to life.

Kevin Killian


Eyecorner Press