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.
Better Angel Published in 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 sexua
[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 mo [...]
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 wh [...]
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 h [...]
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.
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 [...]
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 readin [...]
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.