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Cover for Mermaid Singing
Isbn: 978-87-2802-457-7
Publisher: Saga Egmont
Memoirs & Biography Travel & Holiday
Accessible since: October 2021
Narrator: Josie Taylor
Length: 8 hours 15 minutes


Mermaid Singing

In 1954 Australian writers Charmian Clift and George Johnston, with children in tow, left grey post-war London for Greece.

Mermaid Singing details the culture shock and sheer delight of their first year on the tiny sponge-fishing island of Kalymnos. Clift paints an evocative picture of the characters and sun-drenched rhythms of traditional life, long before mass tourism descended.

A travel writing classic, available for the first time in twenty years with a new introduction by Polly Samson. 'Mermaid Singing' is the companion volume to Peel Me a Lotus.

Charmian Clift was born in New South Wales, Australia in 1923. She became a journalist on the Melbourne Argus after World War II and in 1947 married novelist and journalist George Johnston.

Early in their marriage they collaborated on three novels: the prizewinning High Valley, The Big Chariot and the Sponge Divers. Then in 1954, having lived in London for a few years, they took their family to live in the Greek Islands. During the period Charmian wrote two accounts of their life there, Mermaid Singing and Peel Me a Lotus, and two novels, Honour’s Mimic and Walk to the Paradise Gardens.

In 1964 the family returned to Australia and Charmian began a weekly newspaper column which quickly gained her a wide and devoted readership. She died in 1969.

Polly Samson is an author, lyricist and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Her most recent novel, the bestselling A Theatre for Dreamers, features Charmian Clift as one of the central characters

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