Mr. Mac and Me

Mr. Mac and Me

Book - 2014/10
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It is 1914, and Thomas Maggs, the 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 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. It is her most beautiful and masterful work.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing 2014/10
ISBN: 9781408857182
Branch Call Number: ON ORDER


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PimaLib_SamR May 12, 2016

A coming of age story in which the narrator, who has a physical disability, forms an unlikely friendship with a summer visitor who is mistrusted by the locals.

May 09, 2016

This novel has many ingredients of a good book including an oblique biography of the great Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret MacDonald Mackintosh. However, the use of a child narrator who is unable to understand or express complex thoughts makes for awkward reading and many important ideas are left for the reader to surmise. In addition, the last chapter rather inexplicably compresses a significant event for Mackintosh and the rest of the narrator's life.

Jan 27, 2016

Freud captures the confluence of the artistic forces of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and Margaret Macdonald (Mr and Mrs Mac), the ebb and flow of village life on England’s east coast in 1914 and 1915, the effect of the war, and the impact of rapid industrialization on all three.

Jun 09, 2015

I found this to be a very good read. The mystique around architect Mackintosh and his artist wife was engaging as was the naivete of Thomas Maggs. The only complaint that I had is that the author brought to conclusion the stories of all of the characters in about the last four pages.

ontherideau Mar 24, 2015

Biographical fiction. The story is engaging, insight into the life of an artist as well as a reminder of how commercial processes change and affect the lives of workers through time.

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