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.
[It’s a climb from the port and I take the steps of Donkey Shit Lane at a steady pace, a heart-shaped stone in my pocket]
(@circusbooks, 2 April 2020, 368 pages, e-book, copy from @annecater and voluntarily reviewed, #BlogTour 5 June via #RandomThingsTours)
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I’d never heard of the author before. I really enjoyed this and will seek out more of her work. I like the fact it features a cameo by a real life celebrity – Leonard Cohen who I’ve heard of but never listened to or read. This is set more than fifty years ago so is technically Historical Fiction but I didn’t get that feeling at all, the book felt set only a few years ago at times. I loved the idea of the Hydra, a bohemian retreat filled with creative people. I completely understood Erica’s awe and at times uncertainty about the group. There are too many characters though, as more and more are introduced and I struggled to keep track of them all. I didn’t feel so many were needed and it bogged down what was an interesting book at times. I didn’t realise until much later in the novel that Leonard Cohen is not the only famous cameo and that the whole book in fact is about real events in key creative figures. This increased my enjoyment of the book but I wished some hints had been dropped sooner. I might have given the book a 5-star rating. This is a very absorbing book that sucks you in.