Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour A Theatre for Dreamers by Polly Samson.
Polly Samson is the author of two short story collections and two previous novels. Her work has been shortlisted for prizes, translated into several languages and has been dramatized on BBC Radio 4. She has written lyrics to four number one albums and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
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About the book
A Theatre for Dreamers is a novel about a place and a circle that have transfixed the world for decades 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.
After the death of her mother Erica travels to discover the secrets her mother kept hidden from an abusive husband and her children. She becomes immersed in the world of a group of poets, painters and musicians on the Greek island of Hydra.
Although the focus may be on the literary aspect of the book and the hedonistic lifestyle of the artists and followers, I have to spare a moment and say something about Erica and Bobby. It may seem like freedom at first, but Bobby quickly reverts to what he knows, which is to treat his sister the way his father has treated them both. Cruel, dismissive and abusive. The father makes the man out of the son or in this case passes on his negative traits. These moments define the relationships Erica has with men.
It’s literary fiction, one of few remaining periods in the 20th century when artists gathered and pushed the power, talent and ideas.
Nowadays it has become such an isolated experience. Creativity not exchanged perhaps for fear of ideas being taken. The possibility of fame, fortune and acknowledgement are so rare that creativity is kept in isolation until the artist is ready to expose. The Studio 54 moments that smacked of no rules and complete lack of inhibition. Gone are the 20s when Hemingway, Stein, Fitzgerald, Joyce were inspired by each other, much like Johnston, Cohen, Clift and Jensen in this book on Hydra.
Samson captures the passion driven escapades, which in turn drove the creativity and defined some more than others. In particular she really grasps how women were still considered to be sub-par and incapable of creative brilliance – not like men were.
Sometimes it feels as if the surroundings take over the story though, but saying that it is definitely a strength of the author.
Buy A Theatre for Dreamers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bloomsbury Circus: Publication date 2 April 2020 – Hardback: £14.99 Ebook: £12.58. Buy at Amazon com.
Thanks for the blog tour support Cheryl x