THE GOD IN FLIGHT by Laura Argiri


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 This faux-Victorian debut novel is not rescued by its twist. The gimmick is that the central love affair is between a male teacher and a male student at Yale University in the 1880s. Simion Satterwhite is an angelic West Virginia boy who survives the brutalities of his preacher father thanks to a sympathetic, tubercular schoolteacher: Simeon Lincoln, himself a Yale grad. He inspires the young Simion to study as a means of escaping to the university, in this period a privileged haven where every student has a manservant and other ruling-class perquisites. There Simion meets and falls head over heels for a Greek/British art professor named Doriskos. The dramatic tension is supposed to stem from the question of whether or not Simion's loutish roommates will keep him from consummating the relationship with Doriskos. Another issue to be resolved is whether Doriskos's classically inspired nude sculpture of himself and Simion, called ``God in Flight,'' will get them both tossed out of Yale. Unfortunately, the answers are obvious from the beginning, and it is difficult to care about any of the characters, each of whom is either Good or Evil without any shading or subtlety. Surprisingly little happens in the course of a fairly long text, and the sole excursion from Yale--Simion's visit to the dying Simeon Lincoln in Savannah--adds nothing of substance to the story. Precious, preening, and dull. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-679-42831-3
Page count: 470pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1994