The ancient Greek gods live! Weary of Athenian smog, however, they have decamped Olympus for the Catskills. Aphrodite's youngest son wants to prove his mettle by helping a mortal. He is sent to aid Stanley on an epic journey home from a reunion with two pals at Khoni (i.e., Coney Island) to his wife, Eileen, on the upper West Side. First, the god has to assume mortal shape at Stanley's side. Striking globular friend Myron with a thirst that chains him to the beer stand (and sending the other guy after a woman), the god becomes Myron (literally a stretch) and sees Stanley through a night of adventures in the depths of Brooklyn that even includes, as a good epic should, a journey to the underworld--via subway, of course. When the god gets Stanley home, there are complications, even though Eileen is most beauteous and amorous. Mixing verse with prose, Weiss' hilarious mock epic apparently assumes that, if this kind of parody worked for modernist Joyce, it will work for postmoderns. Ray Olson
From Kirkus Reviews
Madman novelist Weiss (The Swines Wedding, 1996, etc.) goes for the Classics in his latest effort, a reimagining of the Odyssey set mostly in Brooklyn. Anyone whos read Homer knows that the ancient gods were wont to assume some pretty outlandish disguises and drop in at the most unexpected moments, butConey Island? In fact, this is exactly what Aphrodite, the goddess of love, has in mind in Weisss version of things. Concerned about the marital troubles plaguing a very ordinary mortal named Stanley, she asks her sonwith some trepidationto assume the mission of leading Stanley home to his wife Eileen and setting things aright. Uncle Hermes takes the boy over to meet Cousin Poseidon, who manages to wash him ashore not too far from the Boardwalk. Stanley has a tradition of going to Coney Island once a year with his buddies Myron and Lennie, and he keeps the date this year despite the fact that he should be at home with Eileen helping her to conceive a badly wanted child on this particular day of the month. Myron and Lennie, though, are more interested in copping some brews and checking out the babes, and Stanley is too afraid to look like a wuss in front of his pals. So Aphrodites son assumes the (rather unpleasant) form of Myron and begins his task. After getting sick on the Cyclone and tasting beer and hot dogs for the first time, Myron faces hurdle number onethe subway, of course, where he and Stanley put up with breakdowns, accidents, and predatory females before they wise up and grab a cab. But when the demented cabbie puts them out at the wrong address, they have to hoof it to the Upper West Sideonly to find Eileen waiting but Stanley totally beat. So Myron steps in again. After all, if youve assumed one human form youve assumed them all. A happy endingif not exactly the one Aphrodite had in mind. Jolly, rollicking fun, told with gusto and a surprising sensitivity. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.