A Theatre for Dreamers
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THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
A SUMMER READING PICK IN THE GUARDIAN, SUNDAY TIMES, THE TIMES, DAILY MAIL, FINANCIAL TIMES AND EVENING STANDARD
‘The Greek island of Hydra is the star of this novel about a young woman and a 1960s bohemian community’ SUNDAY TIMES, Summer Reading Pick 2020
‘Samson summons the vision and the reality in a beguiling, deeply evocative portrait of a vanished era’ GUARDIAN, Summer Reading Pick 2020
‘It’s sleazy, evocative, beautiful and entertaining’ STUART TURTON, GUARDIAN, Summer Reading Pick 2020
‘Heady armchair escapism … An impressionistic, intoxicating rush of sensory experience’ Sunday Times
‘Sublime and immersive … If you wish you could disappear to a Greek island right now, I highly recommend’ JOJO MOYES
‘A surefire summer hit … feels at once like a gift and an escape route’ Observer
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.
An Observer Fiction Highlight 2020
‘Could hardly have come at a better time … Samson recreates one heady summer there (the Greek island of Hydra) with impeccably ripening prose, all thyme-scented hills and cascading bougainvillea’ i paper
‘Beautiful’ DOLLY ALDERTON
‘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
A SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER (APRIL 2020)
It is a grand read and the prose falls translucently like the air ... Superb work and a delightful novel -- Thomas Keneally I cannot tell you how much I needed this beautiful book to transport me back to 1960s Greece! Lyrical, sexy, tender and sad in places. Highly recommended -- Erin Kelly This radiant novel will transport you straight to Greece - a blessing at a time when most of us are stuck in our homes * Cosmopolitan * Delicious -- Nigella Lawson This well-crafted novel beautifully captures the texture of a halcyon age in which anything seems possible * Daily Mail * 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 -- Jojo Moyes * 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 -- Marian Keyes Hands down the best book I've read all year. Luminous, immersive, gorgeous, profound -- Joanne Harris 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 -- Cressida Connolly I was utterly entranced. It feels entirely true and effortless and compelling - in the way that all great novels do -- Justine Picardie If summer was suddenly like a novel, it would be like this one. Immaculate -- Andrew O'Hagan A seductive story, suffused with nostalgia * Sunday Mirror * This is a sheer delight - I've never been to Hydra but this book transports you and miraculously, you are there in 1960 -- Jenny Eclair A glorious novel -- Kate Mosse A beautifully written, evocative, inspiring novel. I devoured it -- Kathy Lette 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 -- Marina Hyde A luscious seduction of a book -- Sofka Zinovieff 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 -- INDIA KNIGHT * 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 -- STEPHANIE MERRITT * OBSERVER Books of the Year * A book to cherish, to recommend, to return to * FINANCIAL TIMES * Brilliant, tender and beautiful -- ANDREW O'HAGAN 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 -- JOANNE HARRIS 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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