In 1878, while attending Yale University and trying to escape his father's abusiveness, Simion Satterwhite meets art professor Doriskos Klionarios, and they begin a tumultuous love affair scorned by their society. Reprint.
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If a novel's worth can be measured by the power and verity of the emotions it instills in the reader, then Argiri's approaches the divine. It transforms and moves the spirit as modern fiction should and so seldom does, describing a love story with such true emotion the heart aches reading it. The God in Flight portrays an illicit relationship between two men--a young Greek professor and his student--who meet at Yale University in the 1880s. Their intense passion for each other within the stifling confines of late-ninteenth-century society is the actual beginning and end of the story. In between, these demigods seduce from us our own surprising response to their love. Simion Satterwhite and Doriskos Klinarios are serious souls with brilliant minds and highly cultivated sensibilities, both survivors of damaging childhoods. The isolation of their lives, as two halves of the same heart, leads to their fateful meeting at Yale. Once they discover each other, they are forced into a life of duplicity, risking all to remain together. The essence of their story, an eternal fidelity to the pure devotion they share, shimmers just below the surface of a plot that, in true Victorian fashion, runs readers through the mill with worry over spiritual perils, near detection, and illnesses that could be treated only with laudanum and weeks of bed rest. But Argiri's commanding descriptive powers transfigure the lush nineteenth-century romantic conventions to make these heroic lovers impossible to resist. Along with the rest of the male protagonists, they drop ancient mythological references and exude the classics erudition that was a masculine privilege of the time. Women figure hardly at all, yet their absence forces a fresh look at the socialization of love and how deeply its elements are embedded within the psyches of both sexes. Deanna Larson-WhiterodFrom Publishers Weekly:
Argiri's ambitious, captivating debut is a Victorian novel with a twist: her lovers are "men of the lavender persuasion." Pale, blond 16-year-old Simion Satterwhite, the battered child of a hateful West Virginia fundamentalist preacher, arrives at Yale in 1878. His path soon crosses that of the darkly handsome, 31-year-old Doriskos Klionarios, a Greek-born professor and artist with his own shrouded past. The attraction is immediate; indeed, Dori has for years sketched the face of an unknown boy who comes to life in Simion. Yet the virginal Dori fears to consummate his love for the boy, while it takes the catharsis of near-fatal illness to make Simion understand the depth of Dori's devotion. (Simion's bad health-stomach ulcers and fainting spells-suggest the convention of Victorian heroines.) During the summer of Simion's convalescence, Doriskos is inspired to create The God in Flight, a marble sculpture in the Classical style modeled on himself and Simion. The statue, which wins a prestigious prize for sculpture, for a time threatens to be their undoing. Argiri's lush prose is infused with a romantic sensibility: ice buckets filled with melting snow, sheets edged in Battenberg lace, gifts of coral roses. Though she ignores the historical sweep of the era (the aftereffects of the Civil War and Reconstruction are barely mentioned), Argiri provides an enchanting menagerie of bullies and villains, friends and mentors. And her pair of lovers are as memorable as Mary Renault's Alexander and Bagoas. Many readers should be delighted by this haunting blend of melodrama and fancy.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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