Mitred edges

I’m a fan of the family memoir but I’ve often wondered at how  some people seem to have such interesting material to draw from. It must be a class thing – either you have to be very poor and materially deprived or rich and emotionally malnourished. Honor Moore falls into the latter category and she has a rich seam of famous family members she’s mined before in a biography of her painter grand mother Margarett Sargent.

In The bishop’s daughter, it’s her father, the Epsicopal bishop of New York from 1972 to 1989. Soldier, activist, father of nine children and a bisexual Paul Moore comes across as something of a monster for all his charisma as his secret life damages his family, especially his wife, while leaving his professional life unscathed. Moore recounts her struggles to understand and forgive her father and to come to terms with her own sexuality with a commendable lack of whinging and an eye for the dramatic detail.