A Theatre For Dreamers is an alluring narrative that quietly penetrates into the psyche. An element of this is because it vividly transports you to the Greek island of Hydra; but also because it portrays the tangled lives of an artistic circle involving Leonard Cohen and his muse Marianne Ihlen in the summer of 1960. On the island, the group of writers, poets, musicians and painters from across the world lead bohemian lives with ‘aphrodisiac nakedness‘ where they ‘drift and yet always run into the same people.’
On the surface this life appears idyllic, but what is the true price of this bohemian paradise? As the burning heat of Greece intensifies, so do the tensions on the island; especially as the narrative explores the role of the muse.
A Theatre For Dreamers is the coming of age story of Erica, a naïve 18 year old who is grieving after the death of her mother. Mesmerised by the ‘island Queen‘ Charmian Clift, Erica remains on the fringes of the artistic circle. Erica is craving a mother figure and looks to Charmian to fulfil that role.
She is also mesmerised by Marianne and aspires to just be like her – a muse to her boyfriend – as Marianne is a muse to the men in her life. Yet as Erica desires this, she is sacrificing her own creative self to fulfil the role of the muse.
Is this what happened in reality to Marianne and Charmian, and what was the true cost of loving their men? It is also a novel that questions the real role of the muse – is it as inspiring and as beautiful as we have been led to believe?
‘Ah, where would these male writers be without their ministering angels?’ Charmian says.
This is an fascinating novel that explores gender politics in creative marriages and relationships.
Whilst reading A Theatre For Dreamers, I also watched the 2019 documentary film Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love. Theirs is a relationship that has fascinated the world for decades. For me A Theatre For Dreamers enhanced my fascination – but not just because of Marianne and Leonard’s relationship. I was also fascinated about the other real life relationships within the artistic circle and the impact that Hydra had on these relationships.
Since its publication on 2nd April 2020 A Theatre For Dreamers has become a Sunday Times bestseller. So its available now for you to read.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to part of the recent blog tour of this mesmerising novel. To follow the blog tour please see below.
Happy reading everyone! 🙂