A Theatre for Dreamers: A fresh look at the halcyon days of 1960s Hydra

Book review: Leonard Cohen's Greek idyll is the subject of Polly Samson’s novel set on the island of Hydra

Writer Polly Samson in 2016. Photograph:  Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

Writer Polly Samson in 2016. Photograph: Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images

In September 1960, at the age of  26, Leonard Cohen bought a white-washed house on the notorious Greek island of Hydra – the idyll he would return to repeatedly in the ensuing decade for what he described as “sitting-down time”. Now a more exclusive resort, the Hydra of the 1960s was a bohemian paradise where artists, writers and musicians flocked for a heady mix of tranquillity, debauchery and inspiration.

This is the era that Polly Samson aims to capture with her fourth novel. Already accomplished as a journalist and song-writer – Samson has co-written many songs with her husband David Gilmour – A Theatre for Dreamers feels like the book the author was born to create.

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