Harvey Milk Walton knew it was only a matter of time before he was caught wandering free around Angel Land which is part of the
FundamentalChristianTerritories or the FTC. He couldn’t resist the urge to walk around free and get a look at the outside world. It has been a long time since he was able to walk around unescorted.
Despite the pollution and filth he is entranced by all that he sees. He is quickly caught as the virus he carries is easily detected, and brought before an Elder to be sentenced.
Harvey is a gay man and he isn’t supposed to be outside the ghetto without a pass. Elder Johnson is surprisingly good looking but
Harvey hates him on principal. He manages to convince the man that he should be returned to the ghetto which is the best he could hope for considering his other options are forced labor or death. The only problem is that
Harvey isn’t actually from the ghetto or even from Angel Land.
Harvey’s life has taken a dramatic new turn.
First let me say, no matter what I write I don’t think I’ll be able to truly do ANGEL LAND or my feelings about it justice.
Victor J. Banis has written a powerful and emotionally evocative story. This novel is powerful story for many reasons. This novel is set in the future where a fundamentalist Christian government has taken control of most of what used to be the
United States. People of any other religion are called heretics and monitored closely. The gay population has been contained inside ghettos. The citizens of the FTC have no real freedom.
The setting is described in vivid detail. The reader gets a real sense of the bleakness and desolation of the territories and of the ghetto itself. The desperation of the people inside the ghetto is clear and painful to witness but the people who are supposedly free suffer as well. This story is often not easy to read. There is difficult subject matter. The author doesn’t hold back. I was often disturbed and sometimes even scared while reading. The most frightening aspect for me is that I really think that something like this could happen. After all, it has happened before during the holocaust. The people in charge believe that they are doing what is right, in the name of God no less. The have been corrupted by their power.
However, there is a lot more to this novel. I was struck by the endurance and courage of those living in the ghetto. There are instances of kindness and hope. Life within the ghetto is hard but people help one another and find joy where they can. They live and they love to the best of their ability.
Harvey is an intriguing and complex character. He likes to claim that he only cares about himself but he is always the first one in line to help someone in trouble.
Aram has worked for and believed in the FCT his whole life. While he is considered progressive he has never really questioned what his government is doing and what hardships that the people living in the ghetto suffer. His love for
Harvey changes him for the better. For
Harvey’s part I think he finds strength in not only his love for
Aram but for all of the friends he has made in Angel Land. The other residents of the ghetto, especially those who live with
Harvey became very real to me. I felt their pain but I am also hopeful that at least some will find a better life.
ANGEL LAND is an intricate and fascinating tale. I have been changed by this story and its going to stay with me for a long time. I think everyone should read ANGEL LAND by Victor J. Banis.