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.