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Books

It’s not easy for a middle-aged woman to get inside the head of a 12-year-old innkeeper’s son in 1914

A review of Mr Mac and Me, by Esther Freud. Though it sounds promising, Freud’s second novel doesn’t get the tone right

13 September 2014

9:00 AM

13 September 2014

9:00 AM

Mr Mac and Me Esther Freud

Bloomsbury, pp.297, £16.99, ISBN: 9781861545708

Esther Freud wrote dazzlingly in the first person through the eyes of a five-year-old child in her first novel, Hideous Kinky (1992). What made that book so captivating was the young narrator’s sweet, naïve total acceptance of the chaotically nomadic existence her hippy mother brought her to in Morocco. The first-person voice was enchantingly concise, always noticing colours, as little girls do (‘the red and green town’), and unquestioningly stating the facts: ‘Bea and I waited at the Polio school while Mum looked for somewhere else to live.

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