From The Guardian (May 23, 2020):
I first went to Hydra six years ago, when it was simply a beautiful Greek island and not a place I went to commune with its ghosts. I don’t think I was even aware that it was the island Leonard Cohen had lived on, and knew nothing of Charmian Clift, George Johnston and the bohemian community they fostered.
Bloomsbury Publishers: 1960. The world is dancing on the edge of revolution, and nowhere more so than on the Greek island of Hydra, where a circle of poets, painters and musicians live tangled lives, ruled by the writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston, troubled king and queen of bohemia. Forming within this circle is a triangle: its points the magnetic, destructive writer Axel Jensen, his dazzling wife Marianne Ihlen, and a young Canadian poet named Leonard Cohen.
Into their midst arrives teenage Erica, with little more than a bundle of blank notebooks and her grief for her mother. Settling on the periphery of this circle, she watches, entranced and disquieted, as a paradise unravels.
Burning with the heat and light of Greece, A Theatre for Dreamers is a spellbinding novel about utopian dreams and innocence lost – and the wars waged between men and women on the battlegrounds of genius.
Polly Samson is an English novelist, lyricist and journalist. She is married to musician David Gilmour, and has written the lyrics to many of Gilmour’s works, both as a solo artist and with the group Pink Floyd.