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Honk if you Love Aphrodite

Daniel Evan Weiss

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Title: Honk if you Love Aphrodite
Author: Daniel Evan Weiss
Genre: Novel
Written: 1999
Length: 156 pages
Availability: Honk if you Love Aphrodite - US
Honk if you Love Aphrodite - UK
Honk if you Love Aphrodite - Canada

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Our Assessment:

A- : a bizarre yet winning modern epic (of comfortably short proportions)

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Honk if you Love Aphrodite is one of the least appealing titles in recent memory, and though it allows for the "clever" bumper sticker tie-in (we kid you not, that's what the folks at Serpent's Tail came up with) it is a big burden for any book. But then this is a book that wants to be different and thumbs its nose (or honks its horn, if you will) at literary convention and hell, maybe it'll appeal to the kids. We hope it works, because Honk if you Love Aphrodite is indeed a winning little read.
       Told for the most part in free verse, in language that one might expect from 19th century translations of the Greek epics, but set in modern New York City (and including a fair amount of thoroughly modern conversation), Weiss has created a small but worthy contemporary epic.
       Aphrodite sends her son to earth, to do a good deed of sorts among the mortals. Finding himself in "Khoni" Island the god who narrates most of the epic assumes the guise of unassuming Myron, having decided that Myron's friend Stanley is the one he should help. Misadventures follow as the guys' night out leads to a lengthy odyssey through several boroughs as they try to return to Manhattan, including confrontations with a drug dealer, visits to the subway and to hell, and a meal shared with a large Jewish family.
       Our divine guide doesn't really fit in, try as he might. He does not understand the ways of this very foreign mortal world, and he doesn't really speak their language. Upon assuming the human form of Myron his first words are the suggestion to "repair to the device of false thrill and pretend to fill our lives with meaning." The real Myron's friends' faces tell him he has not expressed himself well, and he adapts his language to the circumstances: "I restated: Let's go ride the Cyclone, you assholes."
       Except for the conversations among the characters peopling the book Weiss sustains his stilted verse throughout the novel. There is no formal rigor here, but stylistically Weiss manages to find an unusual narrative voice that is effective, entertaining, and frequently amusing. Modernity thus expressed makes for a good read.
       There is not too much depth here, but the targets Weiss skewers suffice. It is a fantasy, where the real is as unreal to the narrator as his divine interventions are to his mortal companions. Weiss is consistent, and if the denouement is not brilliant it is still successful enough to leave the reader satisfied.

       It is an odd but entertaining book, and we recommend it highly. It comfortably straddles and encompasses low and high-brow, and we found it a great deal of fun. The arch language and forced poetry might bother some, but it is worth the effort.

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Reviews: Daniel Evan Weiss: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of Contemporary American fiction

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About the Author:

       American author Daniel Evan Weiss has published several novels and two works of non-fiction

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