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The Water and the Wine

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  131 ratings  ·  23 reviews
It is the 1960s and a group of young writers and artists gather on the Greek island of Hydra. Leonard Cohen is at the start of his career and in love with Marianne, who is also muse to her ex-husband, Axel. Australian authors George Johnston and Charmian Clift write, drink and fight. It is a hedonistic time of love, sex and new ideas. As the island hums with excitement, Ja ...more
Kindle Edition, 254 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Hookline Books
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Average rating 3.63  · 
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 ·  131 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was happily, an unexpected read for me. While I’m not quite savvy in art and music history, I feel like I glimpsed a snippet of history of some very famous figures. I was drawn into the story and found myself researching the biographies of Leonard Cohen and his muse, Marianne Ihlen, as well as George Johnston and Charmian Clift. I even hoped some of the fictional characters were real. Perhaps they are based on real people?

While the shifting of POV (Point of View)—sometimes multiple times wi
Harriet Body
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Beautifully written capturing an era of simplicity and free love. A moving love story between Leonard Cohan and Marianne in the idyllic setting of Hydros, a Greek island in the Mediterranean.
Marsha Thalin
May 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I understand that a good deal of this story is based on fact because I googled it. Having been in Greece in the early '70's as a young adult I recognized the atmosphere, although the junta was still ruling which made parts of the trip a bit harrowing.
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A soulful tale

A gentle book with a nostalgic sense of times gone by. When life was less complicated and love was more pure. This book sang to my soul. I loved it and after the last word, I was left feeling nostalgic
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Very vivid

This book opened up A beautiful, magical world that i submerged myself into. It will stay with me forever. Artists are so powerful!
May 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book but gave up after a few chapters as the author’s over use of colons and semicolons was too distracting.
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
I have never been obsessed with Leonard Cohen. I obviously knew who he was, in fact, he was one of the first Western artists I was aware of, thanks to my aunt, who introduced me to his songs when I was a child. All I could enjoy then was the music and his gravelly voice, as I spoke no English and didn’t understand the lyrics. Now, it’s lyrics that matter the most to me: is there a better, more succinct description of social injustice and inequality than Everybody Knows? (No, there is not). I hav ...more
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
‘On an island, eventually, you are bound to meet yourself’

Israeli born British author Tamar Hodes blends reality with fiction in this quintessential 1960s flavored novel of art and relationship changes. Tamar was born in Israel, lived in Greece and South Africa, and settled in the UK where she read English and Education at Homerton College, Cambridge. She has been teaching English in schools, universities and prisons while writing for Radio 4 and others in anthologies including Salt's The Best B
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There will be few keen readers who have not heard of Leonard Cohen and his infamous muses, but I confess that I knew very little of the artistic community on Hydra in 1960s beyond this. I have always been fascinated by the likes of Virginia Woolf’s Bloomsbury set, so the premise and promise of this novel immediately had appeal for me. Whilst reading the novel, I have also done some background reading of the many articles available describing the actual artistic community and the island of Hydra ...more
Linda Hepworth
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing

In this fictionalised account of the lives of a group of young artists, musicians and actors who lived on the Greek island of Hydra during the 1960s, Tamar Hodes very skilfully uses a fictional couple, Jack and Frieda Silver, to tell the story of some of these real-life characters, who include a young Leonard Cohen, Marianne, the woman who becomes his muse, and authors George Johnston and Charmian Clift. Jack and Frieda, accompanied by their two young children, join this lively, creative communi
Beryl Eichenberger
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
For a magical trip back into the 1960s and the hedonistic lifestyle enjoyed by many artists and writers, then this biographical novel will delight. When the Silver family, parents Jack and Frieda with children Esther and Gideon, move to the Greek island of Hydra it is with the intention of repairing their marriage and serious writing. What they find is a sensuous and hypnotic group headed by the Australian writers George Johnston and Charmian Clift,who warmly welcome them. Into this mix comes th ...more
Peter McQuitty
Apr 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
If you’re interested in Hydra and the artists who gathered there in the early 60s this is readable in a bad kind of way. Writing a novel about real people whose histories are already well known to the target audience is difficult and Hodes’s attempt is not very successful. Her fictionalising actually means wilfully disregarding known facts about her subjects. Her treatment of Leonard Cohen - the star of this show - is a good example. Hodes misrepresents the sequence in which Leonard’s songs appe ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it did not like it
I have read some of Charmian Clift's books and have been a longtime fan of Leonard Cohen. I have been to Greek islands but not Hydra. This book was so disappointing. I nearly gave up halfway as the characters were so unappetizing - supposedly based on real characters, well, in name anyway. Will I ever be able to listen to Cohen without thinking he's a selfish pretentious twerp, dumping his girlfriend with some cod philosophical musings? Though not Cohen's fault obviously. But this seemed a ghast ...more
Sep 23, 2018 rated it liked it
The book is about lots of creative people living in an artists' community on island of Hydra. And by artists I mean painters, writers, musicians etc, people from all areas of the arts. There are lots of characters to get your head around, some based on real people. It did take me a while to feel I knew who was who, especially since who was with who seemed to change one regular basis!

The author has created an evocative picture of the beautiful surroundings, the boats on the sea, the flowers, the
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Valiant but unconvincing fan fiction by an unquestionable Cohen enthusiast, this novel attempts to portray the day-to-day life of Leonard Cohen and the ex-pat bohemian artist community on the Greek isle of Hydra in the 60’s. The plot is very thin and the dialogue is particularly cringe-worthy, however, I give credit to the author for the effort. I faithfully read anything about Leonard Cohen that comes to my attention, although this is the first fiction I have come across. Strictly for die-hard ...more
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, fiction
I loved this book. Beautifully told and so richly textured that I read it slowly, savouring every word. What a tale the author has to tell. I should disclose that tamar is my 1st cousin and that I know some of the characters and I can therefore also disclose that she has recreated them and brought them to life in an entirely believable and sympathetic way
Nov 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Nice description of Greek atmosphere but, in principle, I don’t like books where a writer invents what a real person might have thought or said or how they acted. I assume that living among the artists in Hydra she might recall some conversations, even though she was quite young at the time. Still pleasant reading, keeping in mind to treat the characters as fictional, not who they were.
Pedro Serrano
Aug 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
A poor history with excessive interpretation on what could have happened in Hydra and with Mr Cohen and friends. You can't see the sea from Leonard's Cohen Hydra house, and the tone is too much sentimental and pink.

Vivien Baptiste
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I sat on a beach on a small Greek island reading this. I love Leonard Cohen and never knew the story of Marianne from the song of the same name. Couldn't put the book down(kindle). Captures an era and is moving. Made me nostalgic for the Sixties. I then googled Marianne. A love story.
Pip Kirby
Jun 02, 2018 rated it did not like it
Was a freebie from Kindle, but not worth finishing. Quite evocative of the Hydra and Spetse I knew well in the 1960s/70s, but not well written and not much of a story, more like a boring autobiog.
Colin Dickinson
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Coming or Cohen?

Pictures in every line. Beautifully crafted. I enjoyed the beauty of the mundane elevated into something special. More, more, encoure
Jul 21, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh what a lot of mush! As a dedicated fan of Leonard Cohen, I can't believe his story has been turned to this sentimental rubbish. I say I'm finished, but could't get past the first chapter.
Andrea Mandry
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
A wonderful book especially for fans of Leonard Cohen and all Grecophiles. Set in the early 60s on the Greek island of Hydra. A marvellous account of the lives not only of Leonard Cohen and Marianne, but the writers George Johnson and wife Charmian Clift, and other talented writers and artists up until the Junta arrived in the late sixties. All lead a hedonistic life style of drinking, partying and of course, writing and painting, etc. I just loved it and have read the book at least three times. ...more
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Jul 23, 2018
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May 30, 2018
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