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For fans of 'The Understudy' by David Nicholls and 'The Rehearsal' by Eleanor Catton, comes a fresh new departure for Esther Freud, whose novels – from Hideous Kinky to Love Falls - are read and loved worldwide. This stunning novel draws upon Esther’s time at drama school before becoming a novelist and is rich with her lucid observation of human nature. Her characters are so real, they feel like friends and this novel is a modern-day Cinderella story with a twist and an absolute joy to read. Settle back and enjoy...
Published by Bloomsbury 4th April 2011. RRP £11.99
It is their first day at Drama Arts, and the circle of huddled, nervous students are told in no uncertain terms that here, unlike at any other drama school, they will be taught to Act. To Be. To exist in their own world on the stage. But outside is the real world - a pitiless, alluring place in which each of them in their most fervent dreams, hopes to flourish and excel.Nell, insecure and dumpy, wonders if she will ever be cast as anything other than the maid. She’ll never compete, she knows this, with the multitude of confident, long-legged beauties thronging the profession-most notably Charlie, whose effortless ascendance is nothing less than she expects. While Dan, ambitious and serious, has his sights fixed on Hamlet, as well as on fiery, rebellious Jemma.Over the following decade these young actors will grapple with haphazard tours, illogical auditions, unobtainable agents, deluxe caravans, rocky relationships and red-carpet premieres. This dazzling new novel from Esther Freud uncovers a world of ruthless ambition, uncertain alliances and the many-sided holy grail of Success.
PRAISE FOR ESTHER
‘I loved Lucky Break – being taken away and plunged into that vivid group of actors with all their fun and excitement – and of course their tensions, disappointments and anxiety too. It struck me as completely authentic and enthralling’ Michael Holroyd
‘Freud stands out as a clear, attractive voice in the literary hubbub’ Observer
‘In a culture which dins with brashness and self-advertisement, attending to Esther Freud’s still, truthful voice becomes not only a pleasure but a necessity’
A perfectly paced piece of high-calibre storytelling’ Observer
‘Evocative and intriguing’ Elle
‘A shrewd and absorbing novel, a near-seamless meshing of family feeling, history and imagination’ New York Times Book Review
‘Reading, you become sort of a tourist, delightedly snooping on how these others live … Fresh, witty, ironic and touching’ Independent on Sunday
‘Deliciously unsettling’ **** Eithne Farry, Marie Claire
‘As a coming-of-age tale, Love Falls is expertly realised … the entire book radiates with the empathy for which Freud is known. In it, the slack, soft pockets of self-pity and sentimentality, so much a part of teenage life, are tenderly exposed, and the bruisingly porous boundary between childhood and adulthood probed … Love Falls is immediate, organic and kind. Few things are more awkward and irresolute than a “grown-up child” but the sense one is left with here is not of a phase finished or completed, but a musical phrase, carefully and thoughtfully resolved’ Stephanie Cross, Times Literary Supplement
‘An Italian love story darkened by family skeletons’ Evening Standard
‘Freud’s themes are weighty: sexual initiation, mortality, love, the bittersweet pain of self-discovery, but she handles them deftly. She is particularly adept at the grand setpiece, of which there are several striking examples and adroit, too, at rendering the world as seen by a sensitive but unsophisticated seventeen-year-old’
Jane Shilling, The Times
‘Exotic locations add a dreamy quality’ Vogue
‘Builds to a crescendo of feeling … it smuggles a lot into your heart … a marvellously truthful, sensitive portrait … Freud’s close observation is lovely’ Hermione Eyre, Independent
‘Not your average coming of age tale. Far from it – Freud’s trademark sophistication and sensitive handling of both the central character and those she encounters is compelling. Yet another beautifully crafted novel from this truly accomplished writer’ She
'MR MAC AND ME'
It is 1914, and Thomas Maggs, the son of the local publican, lives in a village on the Suffolk coast. He is the youngest child, and the only son surviving. Life is quiet - shaped by the seasons, fishing and farming, the summer visitors, and the girls who come down from the Highlands every year to gut and pack the herring.Then one day a mysterious Scotsman arrives. To Thomas he looks for all the world like a detective, in his black cape and hat of felted wool, and the way he puffs on his pipe as if he’s Sherlock Holmes. Mac is what the locals call him when they whisper about him in the Inn. And whisper they do, for he sets off on his walks at unlikely hours, and stops to examine the humblest flowers. He is seen on the beach, staring out across the waves as if he’s searching for clues. But Mac isn’t a detective, he’s the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, and together with his red-haired artist wife, they soon become a source of fascination and wonder to Thomas.
Yet just as Thomas and Mac’s friendship begins to blossom, war with Germany is declared. The summer guests flee and are replaced by regiments of soldiers on their way to Belgium, and as the brutality of war weighs increasingly heavily on this coastal community, they become more suspicious of Mac and his curious behaviour…In this tender and compelling story of an unlikely friendship, Esther Freud paints a vivid portrait of a home front community during the First World War, and of a man who was one of the most brilliant and misunderstood artists of his generation.
You can watch the beautiful documentery 'CHARLES RENNIE MACKINTOSH; A MODERN MAN', in three short sections by clicking on the images below:
PART 1 PART 2 PART 3
About Esther's latest novel, published September 2014...