STRANGER IN THE LAND by Ward Thomas

STRANGER IN THE LAND

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Homosexuality handled without kid gloves. It isn't even (as in The Sling and the Arrow and Fall of Valor) made a segment of a whole. It is virtually the whole in Stranger in the Land.... Ray Manton, English teacher in a New England town High School, has known that he was cursed by an abnormal twist in his sexual appetites from his own High School days on. Haunted by the knowledge- scarred by his experiments- branded in the eyes of his pupils by not being in uniform- snared by the beauty of a guttersnipe who has him in his power, Ray is brought to the brink of suicide when Terry threatens to turn him in during a witch hunt precipitated by an expose of a town scandal. At the close, he chooses murder instead, and the story ends as he turns from the pond where Terry's body lies, towards home, a self-acknowledged homosexual and murderer, facing ""the bare solace of survival for an uncertain time""....On closing the book, one wonders to what end it was written? There is little attempt to penetrate the psychological bases of perversion, but there is a searing sincerity to the portrayal of the agony of soul induced in a man's awareness of his vulnerability, his aloneness in the world. There'll be a certain morbid curiosity about the book; lots of people will be shocked by its frankness, find it distasteful and disturbing reading. The viewpoint to those versed in the modern psychological approach will seem somewhat dated, for throughout the author has sustained his role not as commentator, but as reporter of the limitations of the public and individuals in understanding the plight of the ""stranger in the Land"". A book to be bought with full knowledge of its subject and handling -- and sold cautiously.

Pub Date: June 16th, 1949
Publisher: Houghton, Mifflin