So Long Marianne: A Love Story

Kari Hesthamar, translated from Norwegian by Helle V. Goldman. ECW Press (Legato Publishers Group; U.S. dist.; Jaguar Book Group, Canadian dist.), $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-77041-128-9
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 [his] 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into Cohen's memories and heart is a particular treat for his fans, and they will be pleased to find several previously unpublished poems. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/05/2014
Release date: 06/01/2014
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