An Arrow's Flight / Edition 1

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1999 Paperback Good Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not ... include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority! Read more Show Less

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New York 1998 Soft cover 9/99 1st thus Good++ Book ISBN: 0-312-24288-3. No names or notes. Set in Ancient Greek times. Lambda Literary Award winner J.K. Schwarz cover art. ... good++, trade paper, pict. salmon covers, some stained pgs 376 pgs. Read more Show Less

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Overview

The award-winning An Arrow's Flight tells the story of the Trojan War and Pyrrhus, the son of the fallen Achilles, now working as a go-go boy and hustler in the big city. Magically blending ancient headlines and modern myth, Merlis creates a fabulous new world where legendary heroes declare their endowments in personal ads and any panhandler may be a divinity in disguise. Comical, moving, startling in its audacity and range, An Arrow's Flight is a profound meditation on gay identity, straight power, and human liberation.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a boldly conceived narrative of uncommon artistry, the author of American Studies succeeds in making the implausible not only plausible but probable as he wryly juxtaposes contemporary icons and lingo with long-familiar schoolbook characters. Bringing to vivid life in the late 20th century figures from Greek mythology, Merlis tells the story of Achilles' gay 21-year-old son, Pyrrhus, and how he comes to embrace a destiny that takes him far beyond the urban gay ghetto--and the half-hearted "job" of dancing nude and hustling--that he's resigned himself to. One-quarter divine, Pyrrhus not only possesses extraordinary beauty and the world's most lustrous red hair, but his sense of himself is unflappable in the face of mere mortals whose truncated imaginations can't fathom gay love. Themes of destiny, the quest for personal truth, the nature of love and desire, even the very contemporary issue of gays in the military are explored in spectacularly imaginative style. In addition to his deft use of language and narrative technique, Merlis's insight into human nature--the nature of gay men in particular--and his ability to find and articulate grace in the ordinary process of human exchange is remarkable. Among the many books written about AIDS and the gay experience, Merlis's novel is a stunning standout. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Picture Achilles disguised as a auto mechanic, who "could get into polishing armor and stuff" but who thinks "rotating strangers' tires [gets] old pretty quickly." In this audacious retelling of the fall of Troy, Merlis (American Studies, LJ 8/94) constantly plays with the combination of ancient and modern, referring to television and the Vietnam War in the same sentences that mention sacrifices to the gods. The sharp and slyly witty narration consistently offers surprises. The thoroughly modern hero, Pyrrhus, the son of Achilles and a "hemidemigod," dreams of life in the "City," a gay mecca that could just as easily be 20th-century San Francisco as ancient Athens. He first appears dancing naked on a bar, making his living as a hustler and go-go boy. The story of his transformation as he is recruited to go to war and redefine himself is compelling and original, offering insights into modern gay life and identity. Highly recommended for all collections.--Daniel Starr, Museum of Modern Art Lib., New York
Robert Plunket
Top—of—the—line…compulsively readable and very, very sexy.
—Robert Plunket, The Advocate
Kirkus Reviews
A second novel from the author of American Studies (1994) retells the legend of Neoptolemus and Philocetes as a tale of contemporary gay life. Merlis transforms Neoptolemus into an eager 21-year-old "hemidemigod" who goes by the name of Phyrrus in the unnamed city where heþs living when the story begins, its hero waiting tables and then drifting into the life of a hustler before ending up as a much sought-after stripper. Eventually, the young man is discovered by the eunuch who has been the family retainer for three generations and is encouraged to join Odysseus in one last assault on Troy: the oracles, it seems, have decreed that Troy canþt fall to the Greeks except with Achilles' son at their head. What Phyrrus doesn't yet know is that in order for the Greeks to win they also need the magic bow of Philoctetes. Once on the gay island resort of Lemnos, Phyrrus begins the work of seducing the older man into giving up his famed weapon, only to find himself unable to carry through on the betrayal. Inspired perhaps by Christopher Logue's reimagined Homer, Merlis tells his story in modern dress, with bars and air-conditioning, battleships and airplanes, and, most tellingly, with Philoctetesþ dreadful wound now a surprisingly effective AIDS metaphor. This is a strange book, at once ingeniously worked out (sometimes almost too ingeniously) and yet oddly rambling, cleverly written (to a fault), and a bit chilly (until its denouement). Merlis is caustic, ruminative, sardonic; at times his characters seem to be auditioning for a sophisticated off-Broadway revue. In its last fifty pages, though, the story builds to a genuinely moving climax. One of a kind, for sure, and morerewarding than not in its wit and thoughtfulness.
Publishers Weekly
In a boldly conceived narrative of uncommon artistry, the author of American Studies succeeds in making the implausible not only plausible but probable as he wryly juxtaposes contemporary icons and lingo with long-familiar schoolbook characters...Merlis's insight into human nature and his ability to find and articulate grace in the ordinary process of human exchange is remarkable. Among the many books written about AIDS and the gay experience, Merlis's novel is a stunning standout.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312242886
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1999
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Mark Merlis is the author of An Arrow's Flight, winner of the Lambda Literary Award. He is also the author of Man About Town.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2003

    What a fun read!

    This book is extremely engaging and entertaining. I recommend it highly to everyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2001

    Just love it!

    This book is the best! Talk about 'wow!' This book has everything an avid gay liturature reader loves, plus more! The combination of history and homosexuality is just perfect! Majorly recommended! There is no way this book could fail to impress anyone! If I say anything about the plot of the story, it will give the whole thing away, so, if you are curious about it.... read it! =)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2001

    A Gay Alternative History With Bite!

    Please, don't let my review scare you away. 'An Arrow's Flight' presupposes that Ancient Greece still exists politically and religiously about 20 years before the time of the Trojan Horse, but with today's technology, military chain of command, and social attitudes towards gays and lesbians. A one-joke book, you say? HAH! I dare you to read it because you'll encounter writing that is not only compelling and insightful but very, very sharp about the influence of civilization upon individual human beings. It reads best in its own sphere as a comedy-drama; and Merlis deserves accolades for his extraordinary creativity in dreaming up the novel's premise and shaping it so wittily.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2000

    Everything you've heard is true!

    It's great! It's that simple.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2000

    wish I could give this more than five stars

    Miss this book at your peril. Heartbreakingly good and stays with you. Not just for gay men by a long shot. The author takes what could have been a clever one-note joke and turns it into a portrait of the human condition. I urge you to take a chance on this novel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2000

    Brilliant

    It's years since I've missed the company of a book as sorely as I missed this one on finishing it. THe quirk of shifting the Trojan war to almost present day works fine for me ... I simply inhabited the world of enormously rich characters that have the flavour of the greatest literature about them. A gloriously compassionate book ... quite heartachingly gay, loved the wholeheartedness of that aspect. A great book!

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