... Author Polly Samson
Written by Kelsey Edwards © January 2020
Rather shockingly, the last time I read a good book, it was two years ago when I took a break from technical manuals and immersed myself in Polly Samson’s ‘The Kindness’… twice.
I felt transported by her lyrical and descriptive phrasing. The lives of the characters developed at a pace that compelled me to turn the pages. I was hungry to find out what Julian and Julia did, and thought, from their respective positions in the same situation. It’s all about betrayal, different perspectives and ‘more than one side’ to every story.
Living on Hydra, where life is constantly under scrutiny and every situation real or otherwise is hotly debated from everyone’s point of view, ‘The Kindness’ was reassuring for me. It confirmed the normalcy of life’s perceptual misunderstandings. It’s a book of two parts and I feel sure, like me, you will read it twice so you can go back to assess it from your perspective as well. Were you too judgemental of Julia when reading from Julian’s point of view? Did you miss something crucial, where did they go wrong or right? I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys the complexity of human relationships.
More recently after reading The Kindness, I called into the Piato Restaurant for an abortive video interview with Tony about his plate collection. I say abortive because after filming I found that the environmentally good LED lighting, which I approve of, is awful to film in because it flickers appallingly with a camera. So that’s another project on my list for next year.
But I did take some good photos of plates in Tony’s collection painted by visitors such as Vivienne Westwood, Kate Moss, Pamela Anderson and Charmian Clift …. err Charmian Clift?
“Come on Tony, she left Hydra decades before you opened!” I exclaimed. A laughing Tony explained, “that one was done by Polly Samson for her new book about Charmian Clift”. She’d been to the restaurant doing research. It immediately grabbed my attention.
A quick bit of internet trawling revealed that Polly Samson’s latest book ‘A Theatre For Dreamers’ is due to be released on the 2nd April 2020. And yes, I have pre-ordered my copy!
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.
Given how insightful and refreshingly honest I found Polly’s writing in The Kindness, I for one can’t wait to read her portrayal of a group of people who to date, from my point of view, have tended to be written about through the rose-tinted-glasses of unrealistic, romantic fans. I sincerely look forward to seeing life on Hydra in the ’60s from Erica’s perspective and to find out if her point of view is similar to mine.