…Of my parents, he [my father] was the kinder one. After all, he was only a serial rapist. My mother was an icy, violent monster whose voice twisted up my stomach.
Very rarely, I need to begin a book review with a caution. This is one of those cases. Moira Greyland’s The Last Closet: The Dark Side of Avalon is a shocking and deeply troubling book. It recounts horrors that will haunt you, and many readers will simply not be able to handle it. The occasional profanity is the least offensive element.
But it’s an important book to read, for those who can bear it.
Moira Greyland is the daughter of the late bestselling feminist fantasy/sci fi author Marion Zimmer Bradley. Her father was Walter Breen, a world-renowned authority on numismatics (precious coins). Both of them were geniuses, and both had suffered horrific abuse as children. In a just world, both of them would have been institutionalized. They were delusional and barely capable of taking care of themselves, let alone children.
Both were homosexual, but they stretched a point to conceive Moira and a brother. It was all part of a master plan, her father’s Grand Vision – to raise superior (high IQ) children who would be diverted from the “perversion” of heterosexuality at an early age through incest. This would bring them onto the “natural” path of homosexuality, and position them to help to usher in a utopian future world order.
Although he had raped her at age five, Moira felt closer to her father than to her mother. He provided some affection and affirmation, while her mother was constantly angry and constantly denigrating, and her discipline was inconsistent and capricious. Still, it was Moira who, as an adult, turned her father in to the police, to stop his persistent abuse of little boys. He died in prison.
The Last Closet was not exactly the book I expected it to be. As I was reading, I thought it an exposé of the damp underbelly of the Age of Aquarius – a vindication of everything that many of us suspected at the time – that the talk of love was (in many cases, certainly not in every case) a cover for a determination to dominate the weak. “An ye harm none, do as ye will,” the wicca motto, may sound enlightened, but in fact it can justify most anything when the speaker is allowed to define “harm” for himself.
The title, The Last Closet, in fact refers to a group in our society – perhaps the last such group – which is not permitted to tell its story. That is the children of homosexuals. As author Greyland states (nearly half the book is appendices of documentation), the children of “gay” couples suffer dramatically higher rates of abuse than those of straight couples. Did you know that? Neither did I. It’s forbidden information.
The Last Closet is not a work of art. It’s more of an affadavit. Author Greyland’s manner of expressing herself indicates to me that she has the capacity to be a good writer if she wanted to – but as she says herself, she does not want to. Her mother’s voice is too much with her. She has instead made a life as a professional harpist and singer, and is a wife and mother. She still suffers flashbacks, and struggles with phobias. Her process of forgiving, as a Christian, is incomplete and ongoing. Considering her story, I’m in awe of what she’s done with her life.
Once again, I need to caution you about very, very disturbing content in this book. If you’re not sure whether you can handle it, very likely you can’t. But if you can, it’s an important story to know.
Kudos to Moira Greyland for breaking the silence, and for facing the inevitable backlash.