Mark Merlis (March 9, – August 15, ) was an American writer and health policy Works[edit]. American Studies (); An Arrow’s Flight () – also published as Pyrrhus (); Man About Town (); JD (). Mark Merlis, novelist who explored gay life in 20th-century America, dies at with the publication of his first novel, “American Studies,” in 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 .

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This book bridges the lives, perceptions, cultures, experiences of gay men across three generations in a way that I found moving and beautiful. I read this with a mixture of horror, admiration, longing and downright agony.

We are the witnesses. Want to Read saving…. One could say the book sticks to older stereotypes of promiscuous gay males. Reeve describes very well how hard it is to get old in a society that studis the young, and where being old makes you a pariah.

AMERICAN STUDIES by Mark Merlis | Kirkus Reviews

Inhe took a job with the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress as a social legislation specialist, and was involved in the creation of the Ryan White Care Act. Well worth the time and money, and if you google around, you can find used copies. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

This book feels very antiquated though well written. Unfortunately the novel never really rises above a certain adequateness, much like it’s protaganist.


His sickbed reveries are about the man, Slater, who was his teacher and, briefly, his lover at boarding school after World War II. In one of his interviews Mark Marlis said: Merlis has been trying unsuccessfully to finish and publish a first novel for many years, finally reaching his goal at 44, and this product of that struggle betrays its troubled origins only in its occasional verbosity.

A “two-fer” of discrimination and cruel and inhuman behavior by the “establishment”.

Trivia About American Studies. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve re-read this book. No eBook available Amazon. Really, I should strike the Matthiessen reference so as not to scare away folks who might think: With this novel, gay literature enters maturity.

Edit added on August 25th I turn my back on the boy. Unfortunate story line, but such was the reality of the time period and the author tells the story with dry wit, dark humor and eloquent prose.

American studies | Open Library

Nov 26, Carlos Mock rated it liked it. Matthiessen, who virtually created the field of American Studies in the shis own ambivalent coming to terms with his gayness, and the events that led to Slater’s suicide.

American studies Mark Merlis. As he recuperates, he considers his life to date, thus revealing to us the significant details. The Line of Beauty: Very intelligent and complete description of the repression lived by two generations during the first half of the 20th century.

Mark Merlis

The talent of Merlis is in the way he managed to show us that war raging in the tiny trench between two hospital beds. Open Preview See a Problem?

It is, however, a timely history lesson in what it was like to be gay pre-“sexual revolution” and of the tragic consequences of conformity. He really articulated well some things that I have felt and thought as an out gay male for years. One faces extortion during the McCarthy-era witch hunts, the other becomes a victim of violent crime in the post-Re A heart-wrenching book about love, loyalty, betrayal and the cruel repercussions of pursuing love in a society that seeks to suppress its expression.


This is very atypical sort of narrator for a gay book.

Why didn’t I do it?! Last edited by Mek.

Although “American Studies” includes virtually no overt sex scenes, every page is permeated with the sexual implications of being gay. One of the finest first novels to appear in many a moon. Given the fluid structure between the past and the present and the expansive tone of the narrative, I did better with this when i read large passages of it at a time. Read, highlight, and take notes, across web, tablet, and phone.

His fantasies are about the young man with the mostly-severed thumb who shares the hospital room with him. Definitely an interesting premiss, this novel builds up expectations from the outset: He subsequently took a job wit Mark Merlis is an American writer and health policy analyst.

I lived through this period as a gay man. American Studies by Mark Merlis.