A Theatre for Dreamers

By Polly Samson,

Book cover of A Theatre for Dreamers

Book description


'Delicious' Nigella Lawson
'Clever and beguiling' Guardian
'Sublime and immersive' Jojo Moyes

Erica is eighteen and ready for freedom. It's the summer of 1960 when she lands on the sun-baked Greek island of Hydra where she is swept up in a circle of bohemian poets, painters,…

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3 authors picked A Theatre for Dreamers as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

A Theatre for Dreamers captures the halcyon days of the 60s artistic community on the Greek Island of Hydra. It focuses on the international bohemian set, including the authors Charmian Clift and George Johnston. Among the artists, poets and hangers-on are a Norwegian couple—Axel Jensen and Marianne Ihlen—and a young, charismatic Canadian by the name of Leonard Cohen. It is narrated by the likable ingenue Erica, a novitiate novelist in her late teens whose mother’s dying wish was for her daughter to go off on an adventure. Erica is like Nick Carraway, mainly on the periphery of events, observing and…

Get lost on the Greek Isle of Hydra among an artistic commune of Bohemian proportion. The year is 1960. One of the characters in the book is real-life songwriter Leonard Cohen, who actually lived on the island at the time. Author Polly Samson and legendary songwriter/instrumentalist David Gilmour wrote the song Yes I Have Ghosts which is a line from the book. In an interview with American Songwriter, Samson said while she was writing the book, she wandered through a cemetery asking questions of her characters. She asked, “Do you believe in ghosts?” And one of her characters responded, “Yes…

From Jennifer's list on stories that come with music.

Wouldn’t it have been cool to have been hanging on Hydra in the early Sixties, when writers and artists – and the young Leonard Cohen – made the Greek island their home? Yes and no, says Samson, in this beautifully observed account. Samson’s powers of description constantly delight and combine with painstaking research to re-create those high times so vividly that the reader can sometimes forget this is actually fiction.

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