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But we live in modern times."" ""Some of us do; others do not"" and caught in the middle between Antiquity, Our Classical Heritage, and our faceless, rootless, rutting Now is Targ, or Trag as he once was, a professor. Targ -- who destroyed his own past and his marriage to Helen even if she's still around -- opportunistically and ruthlessly becoming one of the ""metal men"" with no humanity. This time Yurick is on another vector but, however hallucinogenic his conte of Targ/ Trag, the rampant, concupiscent grab of his more realistic novels remains. Well aware of his schizzy self, Targ decides to go back to the Cradle of Civilization -- Greece -- where he makes a trip to a primitive island and a village as ""squat and black"" as its people and where a casual acquaintance, Kairos, a very rich man, dies by his own hand. Targ is left with the problem of the disposition of the body: there are no institutional burial grounds for outsiders, and the priest cannot conduct a service under the circumstances of his death. Kairos finally is put in a sack for Targ to remove while it is Trag who tries to sanctify the redolent remains in a more seemly fashion and reconcile still another two worlds. A fable of separation and dissolution on many levels, bile black and just as bitter.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1975
Publisher: Harper & Row