A Theatre for Dreamers


‘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

‘Intoxicating’ — Spectator

‘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