In 1951 the Australian writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston left grey, post-war London for Greece. Settling first on the tiny island of Kalymnos, then Hydra, their plan was to live simply and focus on their writing The result is Charmian Clift's best known and most loved books, Mermaid Singing and Peel Me a Lotus. Peel Me a Lotus, the companion volume to Mermaid Singing, relates their move to Hydra where they bought a house and grappled with the chaos of domestic life whilst becoming the center of an informal bohemian community of artists and writers. That group included Leonard Cohen, who became their lodger, and his girlfriend Marianne Ihlen. Clift paints an evocative picture of the characters and sun-drenched rhythms of traditional life, long before backpackers and mass tourism descended.
About the Author
Charmian Clift (1923-69) was a much-loved Australian writer and essayist who wrote two novels, many essays, and collaborated with her husband, George Johnston, on three books. Polly Samson is the author of The Kindness and Perfect Lives.
"A really beautiful writer who just puts you right there." —Polly Samson
"The Australians drank more than other people, they wrote more, they got sick more, they got well more, they cursed more, they blessed more, and they helped a great deal more. They were an inspiration." —Leonard Cohen on Charmian Clift and George Johnston