Author(s): Helle (TRN) Kari; Goldman Hesthamar
At 22, Marianne Ihlen travelled to the Greek island of Hydra with Norwegian writer Axel Jensen. While Axel wrote, Marianne kept house, until Axel abandoned her and their newborn son for another woman. One day while Marianne was shopping in a little grocery store, in walked a man who asked her to join him and some friends outside at their table. He introduced himself as Leonard Cohen, then a little-known Canadian poet. Complemented by previously unpublished poems, letters and photographs, So Long, Marianne is an intimate, honest account of Marianne's life story.
-Well Marianne it's come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.- -- Leonard Cohen, in a letter to Marianne shortly before her death in July 2016 -Richly textured and revealing . . . Readers will be drawn to Ihlen as representative of a young woman's struggles in the changing society and artistic milieu of her time. Her story will provide an additional perspective for those familiar with Cohen's work. Rare letters, poems, and photographs enhance the text.- -- Library Journal -A vivid glimpse of life on the Greek island of Hydra where artists traveled to live, love, and escape convention in the heady '60s, with excursions to Norway, Montreal, and New York, this thoughtful story of a young woman finding her own way in and out of love is a good read in its own right. The glimpse into Cohen's memories and heart is a particular treat for his fans, and they will be pleased to find several previously unpublished poems.- -- Publishers Weekly -A quirky and unusual addition to the Cohen files, with previously unpublished poems, letters, and photographs.- -- Booklist -A bohemian time and place so tantalizingly evoked by the famous snap on the back cover of Songs From a Room, and a mythologized affair that received a lasting benediction from the song that provides the book with its title, are explored in greater depth than the standard biographies allow through interviews with both Ilhen and Cohen. As a considerable bonus, there are some hitherto unseen Cohen poems.- -- Montreal Gazette -So Long, Marianne will appeal primarily to [Cohen's] legion of die-hard fans wanting to fill in biographical gaps and read some of his previously unpublished poems. Yet the book's great delight is Hesthamar's sun-drenched evocation of life in Hydra during the years of its transformation into a Bohemian idyll for poets, painters, and musicians from around the world.- -- Quill & Quire
Award-winning journalist Kari Hesthamar wrote this book based on lengthy conversations with Marianne Ihlen before her death in 2016 and supplemented by interviews with Leonard Cohen. Kari lives in Norway. Helle V. Goldman spent her childhood on the Greek island of Hydra and in Providence, Rhode Island. She resides with her husband and daughter on yet another island, this time in Norway -- above the Arctic Circle -- where she is the chief editor of an international scientific journal.