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5 books of Freud, Esther

A remarkable debut novel from one of England's finest young writers, Hideous Kinky follows two little English girls as they struggle to establish some semblance of normal life on a journey with their mum through Europe and North Africa in the mid-­1960s.­Once in Marrakech, Mum immerses herself in Sufism and her quest for personal fulfillment, while the daughters rebel -- one by attempting to recreate her English life, the other by, turning her hopes for a father on a most unlikely candidate. Seen through the youngest girl's eyes, events take on increasingly alarming dimensions, making Hideous Kinky as suspenseful as it is endearing.

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Painter Lucian's daughter, Sigmund's great-­granddaughter and an accomplished novelist herself (Hideous Kinky), Freud invokes her father's family history in this splendidly written, evocative novel. Inspired by the letters of her grandfather, the architect Ernst Freud, she weaves an elegantly paced, double-­stranded narrative set in the English coastal village of Steerborough. In the present, 20-­something grad student Lily retreats to Steerborough for the summer with a bundle of letters that architect Klaus Lehman wrote to his wife, Elsa. Her story alternates with that of a group of German-­Jewish emigres, including Klaus, Elsa and the deaf painter Max Meyer, who summer in Steerborough in 1953. While Lily pores over Klaus's adoring but paternalistic, bullying letters, she and her workaholic architect boyfriend Nick, living in London, are nearly incommunicado. "The men she knew didn't seem to feel the need to so utterly possess their women,­" Lily muses, somewhat regretfully. Between . . .

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It is 1914, and Thomas Maggs, son of the local publican, lives with his parents and sister 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 from the Highlands every year to gut and pack the herring. Then one day a mysterious Scotsman arrives. To Thomas he looks like a detective in his black cape and felted wool hat, puffing on his pipe like Sherlock Holmes. Mac is what the locals call him when they whisper about him. 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 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 . . .

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Sarah is already in her late twenties with an acting career in London and a baby on the way when she learns from her father about Gaglow, his family's grand East German country estate that was seized before the war. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the estate will now come back to them. Sarah attempts to solicit from her father all he knows about Gaglow: the three lucky sisters, Bina, Martha, and Eva; their masterly governess, Fraulein Schulze; their father, Wolf Belgard, a prosperous Jewish grain dealer; their mother, Marianna, a "vulgar woman" whose children privately mocked her; and their older brother, Emanuel, wretched from the family to serve his country. Alternating between Sarah's life and her grandmother's childhood during the First World War, Summer at Gaglow unites four generations of an extraordinary family across the vast reaches of silence, place, loss, and time.

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It is July, three months after Lara's seventeenth birthday and a week before Charles and Diana's Royal Wedding, when Lara's father, a man she barely knows, invites her to accompany him on a holiday to Italy. Soon Lara has exchanged the exhaust fumes of London's Holloway Road for the sun scorched hillsides of Tuscany, for evenings spent listening to her father and his old friend Caroline exchanging cool, sardonic banter about a past Lara knows nothing about. But as Lara's skin turns golden, she begins to relax, seduced by the limpid beauty of the place, the rustle of the crickets and the lure of the pool. And then one night Lara is taken for dinner at the Willoughbys, their nearest neighbours, and finds herself irresistibly drawn to the carelessly beautiful only son of the family - A boy with five older sisters, who seems, fleetingly, unbelievably, to be interested in her too. But the Willoughbys are a family rife with conspiracies and vendettas, and the more embroiled Lara . . .

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Books of Freud, Esther