On a sheer technical level, this is a brilliant work. The prose is simply heartbreakingly lovely, and the quirky world-building adds a nice touch of verisimilitude to Merlis’ re-telling of the Trojan War… this time, with go-go dancers!
We open with Pyrrhus, Achilles’ hunky, extremely gay red-headed son. He’s made his way to the city of sin, and is now a hustler and a stripper. He’s entered “the city of queers” and he’s not at all about leaving. Now, enter Phoenix and Odysseus and the rest of that familiar Trojan-smashin’ crew. They need Pyrrhus to take down Troy, particularly because they need a cute young hemidemigod to seduce Philoctetes into giving up his magic bow. This might be hard, because the mysterious ailment that’s been keeping Philoctetes down (remember him? Dude with the snake-bite that would never heal?) still hasn’t cleared itself up.
Merlis uses An Arrow’s Flight to compose an extended love letter to a time before AIDS, when the Eronauts explored a beautiful world of love, lust, drugs, and fun, and sex didn’t have the power to kill. It’s also a wildly clever romp through Greek myths, featuring an overly anxious Thesis, a chubby Helen, and host of other characters whose mythic roots are given a wry over-haul.
But really? The prose? Freakin’ delectable. Check it out here: