Having told the sad, extraordinary story of her maternal grandmother, the painter Margarett Sargent, in The White Blackbird (1996), Moore offers a painfully honest memoir of her father, Paul Moore (1919-2003), the Episcopal bishop of the diocese of New York from 1972 to 1989. Educated at St. Paul's and Yale, Paul distinguished himself in battle as a marine on Guadalcanal during WWII; fathered nine children by his first wife, the vivacious Jenny McKean; and became an activist in the liberal social movements of the 1950s and '60s. He also had numerous clandestine affairs with men. While Paul's bisexuality did little harm to his professional career, it took a heavy emotional toll on his family, notably Jenny, who up to her death from cancer at age 51 confided to only a few intimates the underlying cause of the unhappiness in her marriage. The author, a poet and playwright, draws on letters between her parents, the reminiscences of friends (including a male lover of her father's) and her own experiences as her parents' oldest child coming of age in the '60s to create an indelible portrait of a charismatic religious leader who could be insensitive or even cruel to those who loved him most. At the dramatic heart of this engrossing family chronicle is the ultimately triumphant struggle of the daughter, who suffered her own sexual confusion and years of therapy, to reconstruct her father's personal history in an effort to understand his behavior and thereby forgive. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Bishop's Daughter: A Memoirby Honor Moore
"An unsparing portrait of a glamorous but elusive father and his daughter's search for the truth about his secret life."—Sylvia NasarSee more details below
"An unsparing portrait of a glamorous but elusive father and his daughter's search for the truth about his secret life."—Sylvia Nasar
Poet Moore's (writing, New Sch. & Columbia Univ.) 1996 memoir White Blackbird focused on her painter grandmother, Margarett Sargent. This one probes her relationship with her father, Episcopal Bishop Paul Moore (1919-2003). Often controversial, Bishop Moore embraced social causes such as poverty, racism, and gay rights and ministered in dioceses of Jersey City, Indianapolis, Washington, DC, and New York. In these 22 chapters, each preceded by a black-and-white family photo, the author struggles to come to terms with her relationship with her parents as well as with her bisexuality and that of her father. Skillfully interweaving contemporary news into the text, she crafts her memories and narrative from family correspondence and diaries, personal conversations, family scrapbooks, and her parents' own published writing. Religious elements appear as stage settings, which make the book more of a literary execution than a deep probing of her father's faith. Of selective interest for literary and biography collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ1/08.]
Anna M. Donnelly
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)
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