Monday 19 August 2019

My Cultural Life: Muriel Bolger, author

Muriel Bolger
Muriel Bolger
Fake or Fortune
Goya
Dead to Me

Muriel Bolger, award-winning travel writer and best-selling author, has no intentions of putting her quill away just yet. In fact, despite a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, she is busier than ever, working on her eighth novel and painting in watercolours, a hobby she only took up relatively recently. She covered a broad spectrum of topics as a freelance journalist, and as a travel writer her life became a succession of arrivals and departures, sandwiching five-star luxury and adventure in between the humdrum of family life and a mortgage. Her new book, A Degree of Truth, is published by Hachette Ireland. hachettebooksireland.ie

Series: Dead to Me

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Dead to Me
 

This 10-part Netflix series grabbed me at the first episode. From meeting the uptight, recently widowed Jen and devil-may-care Judy, I was hooked.

An unlikely friendship quickly develops between this pair, but Judy hasn't been quite as upfront as Jen believed. Jen is still hoping to find the car that killed her husband in a hit-and-run accident. Described as a black comedy, each episode brings more twists and tangents.

Music: Puccini's La Boheme

During the annual Puccini festival at Torre del Largo, I met the maestro's granddaughter, Simonetta Puccini, just months before she died in 2017. She was responsible for restoring and opening his home and final resting place to the public there. It was spine-tingling to hear his music playing in the background while standing at the piano on which it was composed, surrounded by bits and pieces of his life.

TV: Fake or Fortune?

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Fake or Fortune
 

I love documentaries which decide, with a group of experts, on the provenance or authenticity of works of art - the ones where they take minuscule chips of paint and determine if they could have originated when they were supposed to have; the ones where they can identify if the brush-strokes were the same as others by the artist in question.

Playwright: Marie Jones

The most moving theatre I have ever experienced was Marie Jones's A Night in November. And I was lucky enough to be able to tell her that when I met her in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre a few years back. It's a tale of a northerner who gets caught up in the bigotry in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

Art: Goya

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Goya
 

Goya's La Maja Desnuda and La Maja Vestida intrigue me.

At one time, they graced the Spanish statesman Manuel Godoy's private study.

Legend has it that they hung in his study on top of each other. That way he could change them over whenever he wanted to conceal the nude from the eyes of his visitors.

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