A big admirer of Merlis's novel AMERICAN STUDIES and a huge of fan of classical mythology and literature, I was looking forward to this book when I first read a UK review of it under the title of PYRRHUS. The first several chapters of the book charmed me with the image of a Greek god (twice-removed) transformed into a "Greek god" dancing nude at a stripper club. As the book moved from this delightful and superficial conceit to attempt something more serious and profound, it lost, I felt, a lot of its charm and wit and declined into well-charted areas, in recent gay lit anyway, of thinly disguised diatribe and sentimentality. I'm all for diatribe and sentiment, in fact, but, like anything else, they need the sparkle of original and creative thought, instead of the well-worn template Merlis allowed himself to follow after the opening chapters. Better to have fresh and wonderful superficiality, than moth-eaten, rote (pseudo-)profundity.