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.
- Drama Queens and Adult Themes by Kevin Klehr
Drama Queens and Adult Themes by Kevin Klehr
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DM Divine Magazine
Drama Queens #2
About the Author
Kevin lives with his long-term partner in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney. From an early age Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again. The result was Drama Queens with Love Scenes, the first in a series of Afterlife tales. Kevin is looking forward to thumping the keys on his laptop and churning out stories until it’s time for him to gain firsthand experience of the hereafter.
October 01, 2014
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Prism Book Alliance Review
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.
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