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The Paris Muse

Author(s): Louisa Treger

Location(s): Paris, France

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): 1930s/40s

Living with him was like living at the centre of the universe. It was electrifying and humbling, blissful and destructive, all at the same time.’

Paris, 1936. When Dora Maar, a talented French photographer, painter and poet, is introduced to Pablo Picasso, she is mesmerized by his dark and intense stare. Drawn to his volcanic creativity, it isn’t long before she embarks on a passionate relationship with the Spanish artist that sometimes includes sadism and masochism, and ultimately pushes her to the edge.

The Paris Muse is the fictionalized retelling of this disturbing love story, as we follow Dora on her journey of self-discovery and expression. Set in Paris and the French Riviera, where Dora and Pablo spent their holidays with their glamorous artist friends, it provides a fascinating insight into how Picasso was a genius who side-stepped the rules in his human relationships as he did in his art. Much to Dora’s torment, he refused to divorce his wife and conducted affairs with Dora’s friends. The Spanish Civil War made him depressed and violent, an angst that culminated in his acclaimed painting ‘Guernica’, which Dora documented as he painted.

As the encroaching darkness suffocates their relationship – a darkness that escalates once the Second World War begins and the Nazis invade the country – Dora has a nervous breakdown and is hospitalized.

Atmospheric, intense and moving, The Paris Muse is an astonishing read that ensures that this talented, often overlooked woman who gave her life to Picasso is no longer a footnote.

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