Sunday, July 10, 2016

Angels of Detroit: Dystopia Now

Detroit is America's poster child of a collapsed rust belt city. Empty houses and factories stare with empty windows, pillaged of anything salable. Crumbling roads lead to grasslands.

Detroit has a vibrant Midtown with a first class orchestra, amazing art museum, historical and science museums, trendy brew-houses and restaurants, and swanky stores that draw suburbanites.

Detroit is rising, reinventing itself. Detroit should be plowed under and forgotten.

The visions of the city and its future clash in Angels of Detroit, Christopher Hebert's sprawling novel charactered by old timers and a child, disillusioned activists from the 'burbs, and people who just stumble into alliances they come to rue.

The novel is not a paen to the past, although some characters remind us of Detroit's glory days. It is not an imagining of a rosy future. Instead Detroit is a battleground of idealism and profiteering.

A group of Millennial drop-out activists plot to bring down a huge Detroit based company whose drone is implicated in the destruction of a school. A man in debt is sent to set up housing for a human trafficking ring. A carpenter moves into his deceased grandmother's house and helps a 70 year old woman create a garden in the urban prairie while imagining the deconstruction of the past.

There are a lot of characters, a lot of back stories slowly revealed, but they are all brought together in the end. As flawed as each character is, we come to understand their journey.
"Set in a city that's either deteriorating beyond hope or rising from the ashes, Angels of Detroit pulls off the magic trick of all great fiction: it makes the world we live in now seem both wondrous and strange." Adam Ross, author of Mr. Peanut
I received a free ebook through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

Angels of Detroit: A Novel
Christopher Hebert
Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
$27 hard cover
ISBN:9781632863638