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.