Saul Lemerond writes in a bizarre universe, fraught with psychosexual dysfunction and filled with strange and desperate characters. The worlds of Kayfabe, whether rainbow cities littered with drunk children or WWE-style wrestling rings, are surreal, disturbing, and often hilarious. He goes to places where few writers have dared, or thought to dare, and finds something universal out there on the same edge that Vonnegut likes to view us from.
Like Vonnegut, but much more concerned with surrealism, it is the heart of Lemerond’s expertly crafted characters that sets his darkly comic satire apart from the rest. I have had long conversations with “Fake Barry” about his mommy issues and wandered around in a pair of alligator shoes I borrowed from Stewart (“Reptiles in Tijuana”). I loved the time I spent in the ring with Solid Mike in “Kayfabe,” and I’ll be back for a few more rounds.
In walking with these characters and in the face of their strange and tragic existence, I consistently find one message: hope. Lemerond draws you in with the promise of an absurd jaunt down a crazy road (and he delivers), but he doesn’t tell you that he’s going to tug at your heartstrings and make you believe a little more in the strange and tragic world you’re already living in.
Kayfabe is Lemerond’s first offering, and it’s a sincere delight. He seems to have avoided most of the pitfalls young authors are prone to and writes witty, earnest prose, filled to the brim with hope cleverly disguised as despair. There is much of Kafka, Douglas Adams, and Vonnegut coursing through his lines, but Lemerond writes with a pen that is all his own. I doubt the author will be putting away that pen anytime soon, and I can’t wait to see where he takes us next.
I don’t know why you’re still reading this review. Go buy a copy of Kayfabe, curl up with a warm blanket and your best friend who might happen to be a philosophically minded Tyrannosaurus rex (a central plot point to “White Fields and Emerson”), and enjoy an acid -laced trip into the heart of what it means to be human.