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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange bedfellows
If you haven't yet read it, please read the prequel to this play, `Angels in America, Pt. 1: Millennium Approaches' prior to this one. The staging is a bit different, similar in style (rapid scene changes, minimalist set, etc.) but it starts out with the wreckage from the Angel's entry in the previous play.
Kushner described this play as a comedy, but I cannot see it...
Published on July 15, 2003 by FrKurt Messick

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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This book shows how similar people are on the inside.
This book does a great job at showing that people have the same desires and fears no matter how different they are on the outside. Roy, Joe, Prior, Belize, and Louis are all gay men. The book talks about the stereotypical gay man, but I don't think there is a stereotypical gay man. Each of these men are very different in their personalities, religion, and how they...
Published on February 24, 1999


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange bedfellows, July 15, 2003
If you haven't yet read it, please read the prequel to this play, `Angels in America, Pt. 1: Millennium Approaches' prior to this one. The staging is a bit different, similar in style (rapid scene changes, minimalist set, etc.) but it starts out with the wreckage from the Angel's entry in the previous play.
Kushner described this play as a comedy, but I cannot see it that way. Except for irony and dark humour (perhaps akin to the idea of the Human Comedy, in which nothing is really funny) almost ever movement in the play is serious. And yet, in the face of death, what can be serious?
Roy Cohn is on his deathbed in the hospital, and receives prayers and rebuke from Ethel Rosenberg. Harper is gloriously insane in many ways with a Valium addiction, having lost Joe to a male lover. Harper lives with Hannah, Joe's mother now ensconced in New York City.
Louis and Prior struggle to come to terms, although Prior knows that Louis has met up with Joe. Cohn learns of Joe's marriage break-up and the cause, and throws a fit.
Oh yes, did I fail to mention the drag-queen-turned-nurse named Belize (a stage name) who attends both Cohn in the hospital and Prior at home?
There are extended scenes of Prior and the Angel, exchanging information, stories, prophecies. Back in the days when the supply of AZT was almost non-existent, Cohn manages to get some via his connexions, and Belize manages to get some away from him for Prior. Later, after Cohn dies, he steals the rest of the supply, but not before calling Louis in to recite the Kaddish in thanks for the `gift'. Of course, Louis doesn't want to.
`I'm not saying any ... Kaddish for him. The drugs OK, sure, fine, but no... way am I praying for him. My New Deal Pinko Parents in Schenectady would never forgive me, they're already so disappointed, "He's a f*g. He's an office temp. And now look, he's saying Kaddish for Roy Cohn".'
In the end, there is death, and there is life, and even the high angels cannot stop the progress, for they don't know how. But, like most mythologies, there is a hope that survives. `This disease will be the end of many of us, but not nearly all, and the dead will be commemorated and will struggle on with the living, and we are not going away. We won't die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come.'
Kushner's plays are remarkable statements of the culture of the times, in the 1980s and 1990s, with the growth of the AIDS crisis and the unveiling of diversity in all its suffering during arguably the most inopportune political time it could have been occurring, the Reagan/Bush era.
The characterisations are astonishing, as is the dialogue, and despite the drawbacks of play-form to more conventional narrative, this play yields fascinating results, not the least of which because it permits the reader to construct new meanings in conjunction with the play.
***
Kushner's prophetic call for a new world has not been fully answered, and perhaps never can be fully answered. Prophetic calls are interesting things - most prophets in fact fail in their mission (if you look at the Bible and other religions, you'll find out that prophets are often right, but only discovered to be right after their advice has been ignored and destruction has been the result).
The call to the world that I see is that we must all have compassion on those who suffer, for a true commitment to humanity requires that the living make amends to the dead by saving those who can be saved, and comforting those who cannot be to the best of our abilities.
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15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Angels in America is a story of love, happiness, sadness etc, April 19, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika (Paperback)
Tony Kushner has an interesting way of showing his audience how reality isn't really fun at all. He walks us through the lives of a group of people in which they all know each other somewhere along the line. Tragedy has struck a gay couple...AIDS. Prior contracted aids, hence, his boyfriend decided to leave him. Joe is a married man who is in the closet about being gay, whereas, his wife Harper is an agoraphobic addicted to valium. Life isn't very simple among this group. Kushner somehow makes this story somewhat beautiful. As Prior is dying, Kushner has this Angel come and comfort him. He shows his audience how one may deal with such issues. He sends the message that when things go wrong, stay strong and follow your heart, and everything will turn out okay. Some of the characters in Angels in America changed throughout the story, which made things all the more interesting. For instance, I first perceived Joe as this sweet, original, money making husband. I eventually realized that he was different than what I thought. He turned out to be a confused, gay, and sometimes weak person.
Overall, I think Kushner did a wonderful job in writing this book. There were plenty of times where I found myself to not be able to put down the book. It was very creative, truthful, loving, sad, hopeful, tragic, and powerful. I know that Tony Kushner is an excellent writer just because he can smoothly combine all of those emotions into one story, and make it sound good. Angels in America is an excellent novel, and I would recommend it to anyone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tony Kushner has the ability to enthral the reader., March 2, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika (Paperback)
Tony Kushner's two part play, Angels In America, although confusing at times, enthrals the reader to the point that he or she cannot put the book down. The graphic nature of the book is somewhat grotesque yet it attracted me and left me wanting to read more. Kushner's power of great detail is an eye opening experience that made me realize and understand that life isn't always what it seems to be. Many of the characters appear to be working their way up to the American dream but in actuality, their dishonesty and inability to openly admit their true sexual feelings turns this wonderful dream into a hellish nightmare. Kushner does an excellent job of keeping the reader interested to the fullest extent, but some methods he uses, at times, were somewhat unclear and confusing. The constant split scenes and references to previous parts of the book made me keep turning back to earlier sections of the play. I had to re-read these sections and page ahead to where I last left off in order to fully comprehend Kushner's main point. He made the play very entertaining to me by adding an element of fantasy. The character Prior is visited by an angel, and two ancestors. Harper is constantly being taken from place to place by her imaginary friend Mr. Lies. Overall I found that Kushner possess the ability to keep the reader in tune at all times, an ability many writers do not have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tony Kushner has the ability to enthral the reader., March 2, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika (Paperback)
Tony Kushner's two part play, Angels In America, although confusing at times, enthrals the reader to the point that he or she cannot put the book down. The graphic nature of the book is somewhat grotesque yet it attracted me and left me wanting to read more. Kushner's power of great detail is an eye opening experience that made me realize and understand that life isn't always what it seems to be. Many of the characters appear to be working their way up to the American dream but in actuality, their dishonesty and inability to openly admit their true sexual feelings turns this wonderful dream into a hellish nightmare. Kushner does an excellent job of keeping the reader interested to the fullest extent, but some methods he uses, at times, were somewhat unclear and confusing. The constant split scenes and references to previous parts of the book made me keep turning back to earlier sections of the play. I had to re-read these sections and page ahead to where I last left off in order to fully comprehend Kushner's main point. He made the play very entertaining to me by adding an element of fantasy. The character Prior is visited by an angel, and two ancestors. Harper is constantly being taken from place to place by her imaginary friend Mr. Lies. Overall I found that Kushner possess the ability to keep the reader in tune at all times, an ability many writers do not have.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A captivating play., February 24, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika (Paperback)
Angels in America is a well written play. At first, I was surprised at how daring the book was and I was a little confused at the beginning. But once I continued reading on, I realized that Tony Kushner took a part of society that is viewed as abnormal and strange and put it into a play that is captivating. Reading the play led me to a different perspective of how gay men live their lives not only dealing with society's beliefs but also dealing with AIDS. Throughout the play, Kushner reminds the reader of how terrible living with AIDS feels. Kushner constantly speaks of the symptoms that Roy and Prior have due to the AIDS virus. He reminds us of the lesions that those with AIDs acquire and that they are easily susceptible to other viruses such as pneumonia. When Kushner writes about the pain that they go through, the reader can feel this pain. No one should have to go through that pain, no matter what they have done to others. This brings me to my point about Roy. While reading the scenes with Roy, I sympathize with him because of the dreadful pain he is going through, even though he has done much to hurt the lives of other people. Kushner appeared to do this on purpose so that he can relay his message that no one should have to deal with the AIDs virus. He also reminds the reader of how much society dislikes homosexuals. For instance, when Joe told his mother that he was gay, the first thing that she did was sell her house and move to New York. Kushner was very open about the lives of homosexuals. It appears that he took a chance in writing this book by writing openly the lives of gay men. By this I mean that he included every detail of how these men live, their work and even their sex life. It is not everyday that a person can pick up a book which includes sex scenes of gay men. By writing these scenes, Kushner took up a challenge against society. That is why the book is a good one. Kushner wrote what he believed in and felt should be published for society. He should be commended for taking up the challenge of writing a captivating play about homosexuals and living with the AIDs virus.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Angels in America is one of the most realistic books written, February 24, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika (Paperback)
As soon as I began to read Kushner's Angels in America, I didn't like it. After reading the first Act and Scene, I thought the play was boring. I was wrong. After reading Scene two my mind was changed. I couldn't put the book down. Kushner's set of charachters are diverse and represent the American population well. His play begins in the 80's and ends in the early 90's, hence he covers the way society was and still is. His charachters are real. They're all unique, however some possess similar sicknesses, emotional needs, etc. Prior is a homosexual male who has been infected with the AIDS virus. He is very dependent on people. His lover, Louis, is his security. Early in the play Prior becomes very sick. Louis can't handle this and leaves Prior. The security is broken. Harper is a heterosexual female who is addicted to valiums. Her husband, Joe, says and believes he is homosexual. I think he is bisexual. He longs to and does love another man, however he decides Harper is his "heart" at the end. Roy and Belize are also homosexual males, but they are not in love with one another. Roy is a rich man dying of AIDS. Belize is a former drag queen who became a nurse. They both hate Roy. This play is very descriptive and I think this helps the readers relate to the charachters. When AIDS was first discovered, people were afraid of those who had the disease. This play enables people to realize that people with AIDS are human beings with feelings. This play was realistic and well written. Kushner deserves a lot of credit for exposing his charachters to the world. "Angels in America" is one of the most touching and expiring books I've ever read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Angels in America is one of the most realistic books written, February 24, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika (Paperback)
As soon as I began to read Kushner's Angels in America, I didn't like it. After reading the first Act and Scene, I thought the play was boring. I was wrong. After reading Scene two my mind was changed. I couldn't put the book down. Kushner's set of charachters are diverse and represent the American population well. His play begins in the 80's and ends in the early 90's, hence he covers the way society was and still is. His charachters are real. They're all unique, however some possess similar sicknesses, emotional needs, etc. Prior is a homosexual male who has been infected with the AIDS virus. He is very dependent on people. His lover, Louis, is his security. Early in the play Prior becomes very sick. Louis can't handle this and leaves Prior. The security is broken. Harper is a heterosexual female who is addicted to valiums. Her husband, Joe, says and believes he is homosexual. I think he is bisexual. He longs to and does love another man, however he decides Harper is his "heart" at the end. Roy and Belize are also homosexual males, but they are not in love with one another. Roy is a rich man dying of AIDS. Belize is a former drag queen who became a nurse. They both hate Roy. This play is very descriptive and I think this helps the readers relate to the charachters. When AIDS was first discovered, people were afraid of those who had the disease. This play enables people to realize that people with AIDS are human beings with feelings. This play was realistic and well written. Kushner deserves a lot of credit for exposing his charachters to the world. "Angels in America" is one of the most touching and expiring books I've ever read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Angels In America is a novel of hope., February 24, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika (Paperback)
Tony Kushner deals with many issues that American's face in his two-part series, Angels In America. His three-dimensional characters deal with AIDS, homosexuality, racism, and politics. They also struggle to find their identities in a complex empathetic society. All of the characters come to life as soon as the play begins. Each fighting to survive in their own way. Each dealing with the 'American Dream' and the 'American Nightmare'. I really enjoyed this play, for the most part. It flowed and progressed so smoothly. It was an attention-keeper from beginning to end. I have never been so enthusiatic about a drama before. However, I did not like the vulgar language used in a few scenes. With this in mind, Kushner directed his play towards the harshness of society and using this language added to that. With an excellent conclusion, this novel did not just fade out. It showed the clear growth of the characters and their identities. This is a drama of hope when all the skies up ahead look black. No matter how hard the struggle, there can always be a light at the end of the tunnel, if you look hard enough or believe in the future. Kushner put hope in his characters and in turn instilled hope in his readers. With only hope, the characters endured through the play, realizing that without it they would not have. This is a play for any person who may doubt themselves or their future. After reading, I guarantee they will have hope or realize they must to live, and to deal with the many 'problems' in America.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books of all time!, August 10, 2013
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This review is from: Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika (Paperback)
Part one and two are just so amazing. Angels In America is one of the best works of its time. Kushner really did it and I'm so glad my professor introduced me to this book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars great, August 20, 2010
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This review is from: Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika (Paperback)
Delivered in a timely fashion, in great condition, and definitely saved me a bunch on school books.
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Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika
Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika by Tony Kushner (Paperback - November 1, 1993)
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