The Bill From My Father

Bernard Cooper

16 January 2014
256 pages


Edward Cooper was a hard man to know. Dour and exuberant by turns, his moods dictated the always-uncertain climate of the Cooper household. Now – balding, octogenarian – he makes an unlikely literary muse. But to his now middle-aged son, he looms larger than life, an overwhelming, baffling presence.

Edward Cooper made his name as a divorce attorney in LA whose cases were devoured by the tabloids. Now, he is slowly succumbing to dementia. As Bernard attempts to forge a coherent picture of his family history, he uncovers Edward's lawsuits against other family members, and recalls the itemized invoice his father once sent him for the total cost of his upbringing, for the sum of two million dollars.

'Bernard Cooper's The Bill from My Father is a glorious cornucopia of love and pain. Not only is Cooper an exemplary writer but he can parse an emotion down to its most resonant note. This memoir amazes' Alice Sebold, author of The Lovely Bones

'Cooper is a beautiful writer . . . his book is in a class of its own . . . Somehow, this is a story about all parents and their grown-up children and how they manage to keep going through all the insults and mixed messages and botched attempts to express love' Observer

'Cooper's wry, rueful memoir of a lifetime's wrangling with the old guy is memorably moving, emotionally disciplined, devilish in the detail and smartly funny. Read it now' The Times