SQUARED CIRCLE BLUES:
A Novel of Professional Wrestling
by MATT POSNER
Reviewed by Andrew McCoy
SQUARED CIRCLE BLUES is exactly what it says on the tin, a novel of pro wrestling. Author Matt Posner pulls no punches, paints no glosses, makes no excuses for the milieu, the characters, or their actions. Pro wrestling turns out exactly as expected, only more violent, more dangerous, more crooked and more ruinous of the lives of innocent bystanders.
SQUARED CIRCLE BLUES rings true because it is true to the spirit and the detail of pro wrestling, which isn’t a sport but a business which consumes its children.
The organizers of pro wrestling are, of course, unsympathetic characters. But the surprising thing is how many of the wrestlers, and their families, are simpatico. It helps enormously to build our identification with the good characaters that Mr Posner gives us their viewpoint largely in dialogue, in their own words. He has a fine ear for the vernacular, and it turns these fantastic characters from the bizarre end of the spectrum of human experience into people like our
neighbours, at least if our neighbours were colourful.
By adding a large appendix of sources in which his facts can be checked, Mr Posner reinforces the impression that SQUARED CIRCLE BLUES, if it weren’t such good storytelling, could be a documentary, straightforward journalism told mainly in dialogue.
For me, the main takeaway from this surprising, fascinating novel is how smoothly Mr Posner has managed to undermine our prejudicial certainties about people outside our own circle of trust and knowledge.
Andrew McCoy is the author of the Lance Weber series of adventure novels and literary criticism like STIEG LARSSON Man, Myth & Mistress.