Author: Kevin Klehr
Publisher: Wilde City
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Adam’s about to discover how much drama a mid-life crisis can be. He’s obsessed with Mannix, the nude model in his art class. But Adam has been married to Wade for nearly two decades, and they don’t have an open relationship.
Little do they know that Fabien, a warlock from the Afterlife, has secretly cast a spell of lust on Adam and his potential toy-boy.
As things begin to heat up, Adam’s guardian angel, Guy, steps in. But what’s the best way to save the relationship? Should Guy subdue Adam’s wandering passions or instigate a steamy threesome?
Afterlife. Reincarnation. Romantic fate. Drama queens. All these are themes that recur in Aussie Kevin Klehr’s sequel to his debut novel, “Drama Queens and Love Themes.”
I called his first book an existentialist tragi-comic gay romance, and I’d say this follows in that mold—although because of the many differences it took me a while to remember the first book and to see where this one fit in.
I confess I don’t love Klehr’s choice of titles, although I suspect what he’s using them for is to link the presence of theater—plays being cast and rehearsed and performed—as part of the overall action and metaphor for the stories. In spite of the linked narratives, this book can be read independently of the first one. The story of Adam and Wade and Mannix is compelling enough to hold one’s attention.
Unlike the first book, “Drama Queens and Adult Themes” involves inter-world interference. Fabien, a wizard in the afterlife, is bored, and decides to meddle (like the gods in ancient mythology) in the lives of a long-term, forty-something gay couple. Ipan, another denizen of the afterlife, tries to intercede, appalled at the idea that Fabien is so selfish and cruel that he would ruin a happy life for his own amusement. Farah, the two wizards’ mutual friend, joins the party, and interjects her own spice to the argument.
Then we have Guy, the angel who has been charged with guarding Adam since childhood. He long ago broke the rules to make himself known to Adam, but after many years of being good, intercedes again because of the meddling he sees.
Got it? No? Well, you sort of have to be there.
What the overarching thesis of this fantasy seems at first to be is the ongoing conversation over whether monogamy and fidelity is appropriate for gay men. The “being gay is being free” argument suggests one thing, while the “soulmate” argument tips in another direction. At first I wasn’t sure where Klehr was going with this; but eventually he tips his hand and one understands whence he is coming. It is not exactly what I expected, but ultimately this story offers a powerful love song for readers willing to listen.
Adam is the crucial player in this piece, and it is his life and his backstory that echoes throughout the drama. Wade, his love of many years, is less clearly painted for us, while Mannix, the third wheel who complicates the plot, is never more than a bit of visual poetry with a generous heart. But none of this is accidental, and having patience with Klehr’s quirky style (and insistent misuse of the pronoun “I”) pays off in the end.
If you like this sort of thing.
This is not a conventional romance. Nor is it a politically correct polemic on the nature of gay relationships. It is something quite distinctive, and I found myself pausing as I read, thinking back over my own long lifetime as a gay man in a rapidly shifting world.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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