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Summary of Wrestling with Angels:
A Tale of Two Brothers
Based on a true story, Wrestling with Angels is a fictional account of two Pentecostal preacher's sons. Brothers born five years apart, Darren and Brandon seem like complete opposites. Darren, the older brother, is a rebel who comes late to salvation in the church; Brandon is a model preacher's kid until he comes out as gay at age eighteen and a half and does virtually everything his older brother had done and then some. Although Darren marries a woman briefly and unhappily, he also comes out eventually, yet unlike Brandon he hides his gay life from their parents. The brothers become friends, but within a short time Darren disappears under ominous circumstances. The rest of the story reveals what happens. Wrestling with Angels is a tale of competition and reconciliation, guilt and redemption, spiritual loss and gain.
Description of Wrestling with Angels:
A Tale of Two Brothers
What happens when two gay brothers become friends and then one of them disappears? This question and its answer are threads that run throughout the story of Darren and Brandon Taylor, a story about competition and reconciliation, guilt and redemption, spiritual loss and gain.
Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, Darren and Brandon are the oldest of five sons of an Assembly of God minister. Five years older than Brandon, Darren is the rebel of the brothers, and throughout their lives they compete with each other on various levels.
Brandon is the model preacher's kid until he goes away to college. There Brandon does everything Darren did at fifteen and then some. Before the school year is over, Brandon is arrested at a gay bar for a false I.D., and his parents discover he is gay. Brandon moves home.
Meanwhile Darren has married a church woman and set out on his goal of becoming wealthy through real estate. His marriage is short and unhappy, and not long after its breakup, Darren himself starts having sex with other men. Despite a six-year relationship with a male lover, Darren hides his sexual orientation.
After going away to graduate school in New Mexico in the early 1970s, Brandon moves back to California, lives briefly with Darren and his lover, teaches at local colleges, and works on his painting and drawing, continuing his longstanding pattern of heavy drinking. When Darren's relationship ends, he moves in with Brandon for eleven months. Then Darren buys yet another house, lives in it alone, and soon disappears.
Darren's disappearance stuns the family, especially since it apparently results from foul play. When Darren's stripped car is discovered, the evidence of foul play is inescapable. Brandon does what he can to find Darren, including posting fliers at bars Darren frequented, among them the Hollywood leather bars, and placing an article in a gay magazine.
Brandon decides he must tell the police Darren was gay, but instead of helping the investigation as Brandon had hoped, the police become even more indifferent. The elder Taylors find out about Darren too, and they tell Brandon a local TV station backed off from covering Darren's disappearance after it discovered Darren was gay.
Bitter, angry, and grief-stricken, Brandon tries to cope through his art and his drinking. Although he meets Cary, his first lover in five years, Brandon's drinking gets worse. Eventually, he stops drinking, breaks up with Cary, and begins a new life.