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.
About the Author
Esther Freud (born 2 May 1963) is a British novelist.
Born in London, Freud is the daughter of painter Lucian Freud and Bernadine Coverley and is a great-granddaughter of Sigmund Freud. She travelled extensively with her mother as a child, and returned to London at the age of sixteen to train as an actress at The Drama Centre. She has worked in television and theatre as both actress and writer. Her first credited television appearance, though inauspicious, was as a terrifed diner in The Bill in 1984, running frantically out of a Chinese restaurant after it had received a bombscare. A year later she appeared as an alien in the Doctor Who serial Attack of the Cybermen. Her novels include the semi-autobiographical Hideous Kinky, which was adapted into a film starring Kate Winslet. She is also the author of The Wild, Gaglow, The Sea House. She also wrote the foreword for The Summer Book by Tove Jansson.
Freud was named as one of the 20 'Best of Young British Novelists' by Granta magazine in 1993. Her novels have been translated into thirteen languages. She is also the co-founder (with Kitty Aldridge) of the women's theatre company Norfolk Broads.
In 2009, she donated the short story Rice Cakes and Starbucks to Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' project, four collections of UK stories written by 38 authors. Her story was published in the 'Water' collection.
Freud has a sister, fashion designer Bella Freud, and a half-brother, Noah Woodman. Her uncle was the late politician Sir Clement Freud. She has two cousins in the media: Matthew and broadcaster Emma. She is married to actor David Morrissey, with whom she has three children, and maintains homes in London and Southwold.