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Half the Perfect World

Half the Perfect World

By Paul Genoni



"The years in the Aegean may have been, at best, half perfect, but it was on Hydra that they connected to a place, a lifestyle and a community that allowed them to live and express themselves intensely, and as they chose. They refused to believe their dreams were an illusion, or that belief in their own abilities and a leap-of-faith might not allow them to reach beyond the constraints of their birthright." Half the Perfect World tells the story of the postwar international artist community that formed on the Greek island of Hydra. Fostered by Australian literary couple George Johnston and Charmian Clift and including, most famously, renowned singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen, this fabled colony fully embraced the creative and social opportunities and existential challenges of its remote Aegean lifestyle. By drawing on many previously unseen letters, manuscripts and diaries, and richly illustrated by the eyewitness photographs of LIFE photo-journalist James Burke, Half the Perfect World reveals the personal relationships and the working and social lives of the Hydra expatriates. It charts the promise of artistic bohemianism that drew many of them to the island, and documents the fracturing of the community as it came under pressure from personal ambitions and wider social changes. For all the internal strife, personal tragedy and unrealised youthful ambition that attend their story, the spirit of Hydra's writers, dreamers and drifters continues to resonate and inspire.

ISBN: 9781925523096


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