Books

The Interview – Patricia O’Reilly

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“The Interview” by Patricia O’Reilly. – Article by Helen O’Leary

Patricia O’Reilly has a longstanding interest in Eileen Gray and this is her second book about the Irish designer and architect. The idea for this book came to Patricia O’Reilly when she discovered that travel author Bruce Chatwin had once interviewed the reclusive Eileen Gray when she was in her 90’s. A fruitless search for the published interview in the Sunday Times archives yielded nothing, and Patricia was intrigued to discover that although this rare interview has indeed taken place in 1972 it never made it to print. It is here that Patricia’s imagination takes over. “The Interview” is a fictionalised account of the meeting between the young journalist and an elderly Eileen Gray. Nobody knows what unfolded that afternoon but undoubtedly a connection was made. Eileen later willed Chatwin a painting of Patagonia having urged him to visit there. Some years later he travelled there and wrote his famous and influential travel book “In Patagonia”.

Eileen Gray was born in County Wexford. She was a designer of furniture and interiors and a pioneer of modernist architecture. Eileen spent much of her life in Paris where she was ahead of her time both in her work and how she lived her life. She drove an ambulance in World War One and flying aeroplanes and ballooning were among her unusual hobbies. Gray remained largely unknown in Ireland in her own lifetime. It is only in recent years that her exceptional creative talents and extraordinary life have been fully recognised.

The Interview is published by New Island Press. It was officially launched last Thursday in Hodges Figgis by Dublin author Christine Dwyer Hickey, describing it as a book of “great humanity” and a fascinating insight into the life and loves of Eileen Gray.

Find out more about The Interview here.

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