The story of the enigmatic woman who captured the hearts of two extraordinary artists — now in trade paper
At 22, Marianne Ihlen travelled to the Greek island of Hydra with 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Complemented by previously unpublished poems, letters, and photographs, So Long, Marianne is an intimate, honest account of Marianne’s life story — from her youth in Oslo, her romance with Axel, to her life in an international artists colony on Hydra in the 1960s, and beyond. The subject of one of the most beautiful love songs of all time, Marianne Ihlen proves to be more than a muse to Axel and Leonard; her journey of self-discovery, romance, and heartache is lovingly recounted in So Long, Marianne.
Leonard Cohen's fans know the song that carries her name, but this book offers a tender and intimate telling of the young love that inspired it from both the muse and poet. Based on interviews with Marianne Ihlen and Cohen, Hestamar offers a biography of woman who inspired two famous writers. The first half of the book recounts Marianne's turbulent relationship with the Norwegian author Axel Jensen. Cohen enters the story only after Jensen abandoned her and her infant son, with a gentle and generous love that lasted for years and, as he wrote in a poem, "still lives in spine." 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into Cohen's memories and heart is a particular treat for his fans, and they will be pleased to find several previously unpublished poems.