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Summary

The Sunday Times best seller and an Observer Fiction Highlight 2020

Featuring bonus track and original music from Pink Floyd's David Gilmour.

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.

© 2020 Polly Samson All music by David Gilmour 'Yes, I Have Ghosts' Lyrics by Polly Samson. Performed by David Gilmour with Romany Gilmour. The moral right of the author has been asserted (p) 

2020 Polly Samson under license to W.F. Howes Ltd All music (p) 2020 David Gilmour Music Ltd. All songs Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd 

©2020 Polly Samson (P)2020 Polly Samson under license to W.F. Howes. All music (P) David Gilmour Music Ltd. All songs Pink Floyd Music Publishers Ltd Ltd. All music to David Gilmour Music Ltd

Critic reviews

"Delicious." (Nigella Lawson)

"A glorious novel." (Kate Mosse)

"If summer was suddenly like a novel, it would be like this one." (Andrew O'Hagan)

What listeners say about A Theatre for Dreamers

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

cliché

Clichéd & poorly narrated. Polly should've got someone else to narrate this. Too irritating to continue.

6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Astoundingly descriptive

This book took me back to Hydra. Astoundingly descriptive, it gave me the holiday that, like may of us, I could not take this year.
I could feel the heat of the sun, taste the retsina, hear the cicadas, smell the donkey shit. The list would be a long one.
Equally generous is the insight into the characters; some fictional, others not. Not so much a story with twists, turns and a strong plot, it is rather a biopic journey over time of the lives, loves and struggles of the characters; the 'dreamers' starting in 1960.
Getting drawn into gossip about their tangled lives would make this an excellent book club choice to chew over.
The ending and wrapping- up was was a strong point about this story. I now miss the characters.
I am keen to reading Samon's previous novel now.

4 people found this helpful

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Brilliantly executed and touching

The way the author has blended fiction and true events is extremely clever. The story is captivating, you feel like you are on the island with all of the gang.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Nothing Ever Happens

A very clever idea for a book to bring these characters to life again on Hydra. However, the storyline lacked any kind of thread or substance for me. It goes from one in-depth, scenic description to another, interrupted only by different ‘scenes’ featuring these shiftless characters. The narration was more than mildly annoying too. In particular the voice for the character of George, who sounds like a cross between Janet Street-Porter and Crocodile Dundee.

3 people found this helpful

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disappointed

I really struggled to finish, disappointing end, felt rushed. Not as good as I hoped.

1 person found this helpful

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immersive escapism

I was totally absorbed by this book. it's true nothing much happens but I loved the writing and entering their world for a bit.
It's a real shame they didn't get an actor to read it. The narrator's voices are poor and quite annoying.

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Loved it.

Natasha Pulley manages to write finely drawn characters set against huge landscapers of time and place.

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Hugely Disappointing - Gave Up Before The End

As much as I hate giving up on a book before the end, I have had to give up on this with at least a third still remaining. Samson’s ability to convey a real sense of place is lost amidst a quagmire of unlikeable characters. Normally I would stick it out to the end to hear how it pans out, but by this stage I have long since given up caring. Virtually no narrative drive and a pace that is so inconsistent that Samson’s own performance is made utterly redundant.

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Perfect listen

I loved it! Totally recommend it. Really does transport you to Hydra! The best pandemic escape in audio form!

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One of my favourite audiobooks

Beautiful prose and beautifully read by the author herself. I would definitely recommend this to anyone and everyone!