A Theatre for Dreamers
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A Theatre for Dreamers : An Observer Fiction Highlight 2020

  • Hardback
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An Observer Fiction Highlight 2020
'Delicious' NIGELLA LAWSON
'Oh my god, this book! I don't have words to convey its brilliance' MARIAN KEYES
'A glorious novel' KATE MOSSE
'If summer was suddenly like a novel, it would be like this one' ANDREW O'HAGAN
'The best book I've read all year' JOANNE HARRIS
'Superb' THOMAS KENEALLY

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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 153 x 234mm | 680g
  • Bloomsbury Circus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 1526600552
  • 9781526600554
  • 54,365

Review quote

It is a grand read and the prose falls translucently like the air ... Superb work and a delightful novel Delicious A coming of age story set among a group of artists and poets, including Leonard Cohen, on the Greek island of Hydra in 1960. She is so good at mentally indelible imagery * Guardian * Dreamily nostalgic * Observer, Fiction to look out for in 2020 * About real people living in Hydra in 1960. Steeped in nostalgia that's both sad and beautiful. It's fascinating, immersive and so MOVING Hands down the best book I've read all year. Luminous, immersive, gorgeous, profound Her best work yet, so evocative and alive with the scents and colours of a Greek summer ... Among the best prose writers of her generation. The writing is just delicious I was utterly entranced. It feels entirely true and effortless and compelling - in the way that all great novels do If summer was suddenly like a novel, it would be like this one. Immaculate This is a sheer delight - I've never been to Hydra but this book transports you and miraculously, you are there in 1960 A glorious novel A beautifully written, evocative, inspiring novel. I devoured it Polly Samson has created such a dazzling evocation of an era and its mindset. Here, the island of Hydra is a geographical place but a psychological one too, populated by beautiful and damaged characters who pull you down into its pages for another cafe gossip, another moonlit swim, another drink. This book is a bohemian idyll meticulously drawn, and unsparingly exposed. It is like going away to paradise, then coming back rather wiser. You don't read this book - you live it A luscious seduction of a book Praise for The Kindness: 'An addictive, cleverly structured and intriguing relationship story of lies and flawed communication * SUNDAY TIMES Book of the Week * Annoyingly close to perfection * SUNDAY TIMES * A story that entices you to revel in its languid, beautifully written prose while demanding that you turn the page to discover the secrets it holds * OBSERVER Paperback of the week * Beautifully written, with twists engineered like a thriller * OBSERVER Books of the Year * A book to cherish, to recommend, to return to * FINANCIAL TIMES * Brilliant, tender and beautiful Beautifully written and plotted with serpentine cunning, Samson's novel is what might be called a love story for adults: unsentimental, at times harsh, but ultimately uplifting * MAIL ON SUNDAY * Gorgeously chilling ... Samson seems to write in colours * INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY * Shining, poetic and sumptuous ... Polly Samson is a writer of great insight and sensitivity A richly sensory writer ... A sumptuous, serious story * DAILY MAIL * Lush, lyrical prose ... The Kindness is to be read more than once, not merely to enjoy again the beauty of the writing and the considerable insights into human experience, but to test the earlier narrative with the knowledge of what is to come * INDEPENDENT * Compelling ... Atmospheric and vividly told, the book is a poignant examination of love, guilt, betrayal and the deception that can lie at the heart of every relationship * TATLER * Family proves far from idyllic in this poetic, sensual story of betrayal and lies. Writer and lyricist Samson's prose is dazzlingly evocative, as she explores how relationships are rarely what they seem * GLAMOUR * Secrets and misunderstandings fuel Polly Samson's involving, melancholy and cleverly constructed second novel ... This is a mature and haunting novel about love and loss that asks if we all, in the end, see what we want to see * METRO * This is elegant, witty writing, informed throughout by generosity and wise perceptiveness. Dealing with many kinds of love, and with misunderstanding, betrayal, grief and forgiveness, the novel dares to posit, ultimately, the possibility of redemption. It is a book to cherish, to recommend, to return to * FT WEEKEND * Intensely evocative ... Samson treats this difficult subject with candour and compassion ... The novel's effortlessness, its readability, sweeps everything in its wake ... This is a book to relax into * DAILY TELEGRAPH * Polly Samson's mastery of the English language is powerful and impressive * DAILY EXPRESS *
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About Polly Samson

Polly Samson is the author of two short story collections and two previous novels. Her work has been shortlisted for numerous prizes, translated into several languages and has been dramatised on BBC Radio 4. Her novel The Kindness was named Book of the Year by The Times and Observer. She has written lyrics for four Number One albums, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

pollysamson.com @PollySamson
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