Haystacks Kane is a 607-pound professional wrestler and dedicated butterfly collector. He’s been preyed upon, his innate kindness and gentle good nature harvested by unscrupulous promoters and conniving managers; an ex-wife who keeps him on the hook for alimony; fellow denizens of the sordid netherworld he inhabits; and the raucous ravenous crowds with a thirst for violent cheap thrills.
Now, gravely injured and unable to speak in the wake of his disastrous encounter in the ring with his archrival and nemesis Valentino, he lies motionless in his hospital bed (indeed, two beds lashed together), immobilized, his body broken. Fighting for his very life, he drifts in and out of consciousness seeking to uncover the deeper truth of his existence, rummaging through the trunk of his memories to discover exactly what it is--the it that has deprived him of his wife, taken every member of his family from him, laid him low, and the it that will release him from the bonds of his history and transport him to the Eden he dreams of: Greece, Rhodes, the Valley of the Butterflies known as Petaloudes, where he can live as his true self at last, in peace and tranquility amid “the sound of butterflies.”
“The Harvesting of Haystacks Kane” is a powerful and accomplished literary work that is set to captivate readers with its unique approach to storytelling and exploration of deep existential themes. The novel follows the story of Herschel Cain, known as Haystacks Kane, a reluctant professional wrestler and passionate butterfly collector who has been exploited by ruthless promoters, managers, and even his own wife. After suffering a severe injury in the ring, Haystacks lies in his hospital bed, unable to speak and struggling to uncover the deeper truths of his existence.
Schlam’s masterful use of stream-of-consciousness narrative technique brings a remarkable plasticity to the literary form, immersing readers in Haystacks’ innermost thoughts, emotions, and memories. Through a series of flashbacks and introspections, the novel explores the existential aspects of Haystacks’ life, including his search for meaning, identity, and ultimate liberation from the pain and suffering of his past.
“The Harvesting of Haystacks Kane” is a profound and insightful work that delves into the spiritual and philosophical dimensions of the human experience, and offers readers a deeply moving and unforgettable journey into the heart of the human condition.
Schlam’s exceptional talent as a writer shines through in this novel, as he skillfully weaves together a tapestry of voices, perspectives, and emotions to create a powerful and thought-provoking literary work that is sure to leave a lasting impression on readers.