Culture Street

Books

Mr Mac and Me by Esther Freud

On October 21, 2014

By Sophia Whitfield

Mr Mac and Me is Esther Freudís eighth novel. Known for her semi-autobiographical Hideous Kinky, adapted for the screen starring Kate Winslet, Freud once again delves into the mind of a child.

Narrated by 12-year-old Thomas Maggs, Mr Mac and Me is set in Suffolk at the outbreak of the First World War. The easterly coast of Britain was thought to be one of the most dangerous parts of the country in 1914.

Thomas Maggs is the youngest and only surviving son of local publican William Maggs. He listens to the locals as they talk about a Scotsman who has recently arrived in Suffolk. When he first sees Charles Rennie Mackintosh he realises why everyone is talking about him.

ďHe looks for all the world like a detective. Heís wearing a great black cape and a hat of felted wool, and he is puffing on a pipe as if heís Sherlock Holmes.Ē

Thomas notices the Scotsman has a limp not dissimilar from his own twisted foot and is drawn to him.

Artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh did live in the village of Walberswick in Surrey at this time. He overstayed his welcome and the village became suspicious of him. Freud has artfully weaved fact and fiction with the introduction of Thomas Maggs, allowing the Glaswegian artist, known to Thomas as Mac, to tell his story.

Mac was once a great architect Ė at the age of 27 he was revered as a genius but has since fallen on hard times. He allows Thomas respite from his abusive father and in turn reveals part of his life story while teaching Thomas about the art of observation. Having picked up on Thomasís talent for drawing Mac shows him the world through his eyes.

Freudís love of nature is imbued throughout this novel, the daughter of artist Lucian Freud and great-granddaughter of psychologist Sigmund Freud; she has an eye for detail as she vividly brings the environment to life.

It is not the first time Freud has written about the First World War. While telling Macís story she also presents him as a victim of wartime paranoia in a small coastal village.

Beautifully written, Mr Mac and Me is the story of unlikely friendship in the face of adversity.

You Might Also Like

Books

Mary Bennet by Jennifer Paynter #AWW2012

By Sophia Whitfield

On July 12, 2012

Books

Sweet Damage by Rebecca James

By Sophia Whitfield

On April 2, 2013

Books

Quentin Blake turns 80 and receives a knighthood

Quentin Blakeís illustrations have endeared him to fans worldwide. He made his name illustrating Roald Dahl stories and has continued to entertain children with his whimsical art.

On December 15, 2012
 

Books

The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert

By Sophia Whitfield

On October 8, 2013

Books

Three Things About Elsie to be adapted for the screen

Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon is to be adapted into a TV drama by Red Planet, the makers of BBC One's "Death In Paradise".

On February 8, 2018

Books

Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert to separate from husband

Elizabeth Gilbert has announced on Facebook that she is separating from her husband of twelve years.

On July 5, 2016
 
Copyright © 2012 - 2019 Culture Street
Contact: info@culturestreet.com.au