Better Angel

We first encounter Kurt Gray as a thirteen year old schoolboy when his sensitive nature and delicate good looks cause him to be the target of bullies We follow him through school and then college wh

We first encounter Kurt Gray as a thirteen year old schoolboy, when his sensitive nature and delicate good looks cause him to be the target of bullies. We follow him through school and then college where he studies music, followed by a year spent in Europe, his subsequent return and to his first employment where he can utilise his talents as a budding composer. Along the way he meets Derry and Chloe, brother and sister with whose family he lodges as a student, and then Derry, a young man with whom he falls in love.Kurt lives is an intelligent but naïve boy, especially when it comes to matters regarding sex, which leads him to some problems and misunderstandings as a schoolboy, and latter when he realises he is attracted to other boys; like many in such a situation he fells he is unique. But gradually he learns otherwise, but what he discovers does not always appeal to him, and what he wants most he begins to wonder if want he longs for is possible, to find that special person with whom he can fall in love and enjoy a lifelong attachment. All indications, and his friends too, tell him he cannot achieve such an ideal, but Kurt thinks otherwise.It having been written in 1933 puts a somewhat different perspective on ideas and attitudes, yet in some ways little has changed. It does however provide a keen insight on a less enlightened time. The edition I read has an Epilogue written by Forman Brown, who wrote Better Angel under the pseudonym Richard Meeker, the Epilogue written in 1995 when the author was 94 years old. This brief Epilogue adds immensely the story goes a long way to explaining it and what might have happened subsequently for Kurt.Better Angel is a truly delightful story, so eloquently written such that it is simply a joy to read. The characters are appealing, and Kurt's idealised view of love is not as hopeless as others would have him believe. It is a most satisfying, positive and heart warming tale. The best Better Angel Author Forman Brown Richard Meeker Hubert Kennedy Viral Kindle Published in 1933, Better Angel provided one of the few positive images of gay life and became an instant underground classic Today, it remains a touching story of a young man s discovery of his sexuality in the 1920s and 1930s and is considered to be one of the most important gay books ever written.. Forman Brown was one of the world s leaders in puppet theatre in his day, as well as an important early gay novelist He was a member of the Yale Puppeteers and the driving force behind Turnabout Theatre He was born in Otsego, Michigan, in 1901 and died in 1996, two days after his 95th birthday Brown briefly taught at North Carolina State College, followed by an extensive tour of Europe.. A viral Books Better Angel [Since writing this review I've found my copy of this. I was right that the author, who had originally written it under a pseudonym, lived to acknowledge that he, Forman Brown, was the author. This acknowledgement came in the form of an epilogue written in 1990, when he was almost ninety years old. I'd hate to violate copyright by including the entire epilogue here, but to give you the optimistic tone of Brown's writing, I'll quote a little of it: "Imagine a very old gentleman entering a very modern bookshop and somewhat hesitantly asking the proprietor if by any chance he has a copy of a novel called BETTER ANGEL by one Richard Meeker. The proprietor replies 'Yes, indeed. It's quite popular, and I think you'll like it. It's a well written book.' 'I'm sure I shall,' said the old gentleman. 'You see, I wrote it.' And that is why this old gentleman, Forman Brown, is writing this epilogue for the new edition of the book.'" My edition is a facsimile of the 1933 original, with Hubert Kennedy's introduction added along with Forman Brown's epilogue, which clears up Kennedy's notion that the author would never surface. Finally, I'll mention that Brown and his friends (who formed a theatrical group called the Yale Puppeteers) ran what he describes as "one of the most unusual and successful small theaters in the land," the Turnabout Theatre in Los Angeles. (Okay, here's some more: Forman Brown also worked wrote material for Sophie Tucker, Elsa Lanchester and Bette Midler.) Below is my review as it was before I tracked down my copy of the book.]This novel was written in the early 1930s. Forman Brown is pictured on the cover of this book. Looks like a witty fellow. This is a shockingly optimistic look on gay life, written during a time of serious oppression of gays and lesbians. It's an entertaining story which moves quickly. The prose is clear.I've read a little about Forman Brown. I have forgotten whether this was originally published under a psuedonym, but he did live to see it published under his own name. He provided an introduction for it. I'm not sure if this edition contains that or not. In any case, that is his picture on the cover. He lived to a ripe, old age and was apparently happy.As the bard of Armagh says, "The merry-hearted boys make the best of old men."

About Author

  1. Forman Brown was one of the world s leaders in puppet theatre in his day, as well as an important early gay novelist He was a member of the Yale Puppeteers and the driving force behind Turnabout Theatre He was born in Otsego, Michigan, in 1901 and died in 1996, two days after his 95th birthday Brown briefly taught at North Carolina State College, followed by an extensive tour of Europe.

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Better Angel Comment

  1. Since writing this review I ve found my copy of this I was right that the author, who had originally written it under a pseudonym, lived to acknowledge that he, Forman Brown, was the author This acknowledgement came in the form of an epilogue written in 1990, when he was almost ninety years old I d hate to violate copyright by including the entire epilogue here, but to give you the optimistic tone of Brown s writing, I ll quote a little of it Imagine a very old gentleman entering a very modern b [...]


  2. We first encounter Kurt Gray as a thirteen year old schoolboy, when his sensitive nature and delicate good looks cause him to be the target of bullies We follow him through school and then college where he studies music, followed by a year spent in Europe, his subsequent return and to his first employment where he can utilise his talents as a budding composer Along the way he meets Derry and Chloe, brother and sister with whose family he lodges as a student, and then Derry, a young man with whom [...]


  3. The novel s primary claim to fame is that it is unusually positive in its treatment of homosexuality for the time It s also a well constructed work, with believable characters, and a protagonist that s likable enough The initial part, about childhood, resonated most with me I found less compelling the account of the main character s love life when he grows up I think that, with novels centred around same sex desire, I like to feel an attraction for the characters, and that didn t happen here The [...]


  4. Here in Minneapolis we have a library called Quatrefoil an LGBT library named after a book from the 50s the founders enjoyed because of its upbeat ending That ending is not nearly as upbeat of this ending Nor was it even close to legitimizing love and sex between two guys This is worth reading if only because it goes so completely against the grain of we expect from a gay novel from this time period.


  5. With its oblique prose, which some may find stilted, this period novel of the early 20th century may not be everyone s cup of tea A closeted college boy is taken into the social circle of a grande dame At first, it s just a pleasant way to pass the time while he awaits the arrival of his boyfriend from out of town But as he gets sucked into the intriques of matchmaking, his self centered behavior inevitably alienates him from those who once found him handsome and charming Although repressed male [...]


  6. I ve read Better Angel multiple times I ve bought this book multiple times originally in the 80s, before the Foreman Brown revelations came out Either that original or its first replacement edition was from Alyson Books The last time I bought Better Angel was later in the 90s, with the formal coming out by Foreman Brown I bought two copies, and wound up giving both away again.I d been incredibly moved by the story the first time I read it, and it only gets better on repeated readings.


  7. A 1930s book with a positive light on homosexuality Such a thing exists Apparently so Refreshing, but beyond it s daringly groundbreaking outlook not particularly memorable.


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