Author(s): Julie Keys
A story about art, murder, and making your place in history. Whatever it was that drew me to Muriel, it wasn't her charm. In 1992, morning sickness drives Jane to pre-dawn walks of her neighbourhood where she meets an unfriendly woman who sprays her with a hose as she passes by. When they do talk: Muriel Kemp eyes her pregnant belly and tells her if she really wanted to succeed, she'd get rid of the baby. Driven to find out more about her curmudgeonly neighbour, Jane Cooper begins to investigate the life of Muriel, who claims to be a famous artist from Sydney's bohemian 1920s. Contemporary critics argue that legend, rather than ability, has secured her position in history. They also claim that the real Muriel Kemp died in 1936. Murderer, narcissist, sexual deviant or artistic genius and a woman before her time: Who really is Muriel Kemp?