Nuala O’Faolain

April 13, 2008

I cried on Saturday listening to Nuala O’Faolain talk, in a raw and emotional interview, with Marian Finnucane, about her recent diagnosis of terminal cancer. Her shock and anger was palpable and as with so much of her writing, she spoke from a deep place full of honesty and grace. When asked about having more time she said

Yeah, I was just reading about some best-selling man who says ‘Live your dream to the end’ and so on and I don’t despise anyone who does, but I don’t see it that way. Even if I gained time through the chemotherapy it isn’t time I want. Because as soon as I knew I was going to die soon, the goodness went out of life.

O’Faolain’s memoir Are You Somebody resonated so strongly with me. The depth of her emotion was breathtaking, just as it was on Saturday morning. The raw, real experience of one woman’s journey which in its total emotional honesty becomes universal in its meaning. It’s hard not to project a set of feelings onto someone else’s tragedy – to make it about me and not them particularly when I never had the pleasure of meeting her in the flesh. I hope that however she plans to spend her remaining days she’ll find some solace and meaning and be surrounded by a lot of love and I also hope she knows that she is somebody.
The full transcript of her interview is here and the podcast of the interview can be listened to here.

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  1. Sad, enthralled, riveted and full of admiration for Nuala O’Faolan as I listened to the interview with Marian Finnucane on Saturday. Her sheer honesty and despair was palpable. Her genius, her storytelling ability and lovely way of communicating are some of the gifts she will leave behind. I discovered Nuals’s novels a few years ago and have read them over and over. I just wanted to put my arms around her a give her a big hug – something that would have probably been more beneficial to me than Nuala such was my emotional state while listening to her speak. Well done to Marian too for such a professional approach to the interview. Nuala – you make me feel the ‘I am somebody’- thank you for that.

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