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Works by
Mark Merlis
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Profile created 2003
Updated September 22, 2009
  • Man About Town (2003)
    Joel Lingeman has been set adrift. Until recently, life was 'relative contentedness'; working for Congress, frequenting the Hill club a little too frequently, cooking dinner for two every night and routine sex on Sundays. Now Sam, his lover of fifteen years, has left him for a stunning twenty-three year old and he cannot score a trick in the sleaziest pick-up joint in town. Joel's revulsion for the politics around him has dissipated into mild amusement at the 'social Darwinists' ready to snatch the last cents from the hands of the old and ailing. And he is increasingly obsessed by the different lives he could have led. When a teenage fantasy reasserts itself, the blond haired demi-god his eye once fell upon modeling swimsuits in the back of an old magazine, Joel is overcome by a pervasive sense of loss and embarks on a quest to hunt down 'the Santa Fe boy'. Astutely observed and resonant with dark, sardonic undertones, Man About Town is an unforgettable novel about losing your way, your self-esteem and your security.

  • An Arrow's Flight (1998) -- Winner of the 1998 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men's Fiction, literature finalist for the 1999 ALA GLBTRT awards, and #76 of the 100 Best Gay and Lesbian Novels. .
    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.  Also known as Pyrrhus (Import).

  • American Studies (1994, 2009)
    Sixty-two-year-old Reeve lies in a hospital bed—the result of a vicious beating. As he convalesces, he constructs a history for the reader, not just of the lives of himself and his mentor, Tom Slater, but of fifty years of America and the gay experience. Called “an intelligent, compassionate and moving novel” by Dale Peck, this first novel by Mark Merlis is back in print to illuminate a world that for many has never been known and, for some, will never be forgotten.

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