The Wild, by Esther Freud

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The Independent Culture

Freud's first novel Hideous Kinky was based on her hippie childhood in Morocco. This, her fourth novel, revisits the miseries of growing up. Tess is nine when she and her mother and brother move in with William, a separated father and his three daughters. A self-proclaimed new man, William prides himself on his domestic prowess, but rides roughshod over the children's fragile egos. Like a poetic version of Trollope's Other People's Children, Freud's book reminds us how grown-up children need to be.