“HIDEOUS KINKY”

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“HIDEOUS KINKY” – ESTHER FREUD

The book that inspired the Kate Winslett-starring movie, “Hideous Kinky” charts the lives of a hippie mother and her two young daughters as they aspire to eke out a living in Morocco. Cleverly told from the all-seeing perspective of a five-year-old, the story begins with the family driving from the UK and catching a ferry from Spain in order to strike Morocco at the port city of Tangier. From there, they make their laboured way south to the magical city of Marrakech where they find a hotel in which to live.

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Capturing the exhilarating feeling of freedom inspired by living a footloose life, the book also focuses on the hardship and instability borne out of the mother’s desire to live a carefree existence purposefully distanced from her homeland. Constantly waiting for money to be transferred from her estranged partner’s bank account, she sets herself the task of raising her daughters the best that she can with the limited resources she has at her disposal.

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Her oldest girl, Bea, desperately wants to go to school, forcing a certain degree of routine into her life. She, meanwhile, decides that a trip over to Algiers represents a good idea, wholeheartedly believing that the act of losing oneself in a foreign country is the most effective way to camouflage a person’s lack of direction. Her Moroccan boyfriend, Bilal, leads something of a footloose lifestyle, too. It’s less a choice and more a necessity for him, though, with work dictating his whereabouts at any given time.

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Brilliantly distilling the essence of how it feels to live abroad, “Hideous Kinky” reveals Morocco for what it really is: a formidably enchanting country populated by unforgettable characters. Freud’s fabulously detailed descriptions of people aside, the landscapes are painted in vivid colours, allowing the reader to be led astray by mountainous, seaside and desert-drowned scenes of life at its loudest. As anybody who’s ever visited the country will testify, Morocco sees fit to overwhelm every sense, the clamour of its souks and the mouthwatering smell of its tagines enough to compel anybody to stay longer.

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As much as the soul-searching mother must be applauded for pursuing a life of non-conformity, it soon becomes apparent that she’s heartbreakingly inconsiderate to her children, especially since it’s obvious that they desire very little more than a stable family environment in which to bloom, forge solid friendships, and feel truly safe – physically and emotionally. Sensing that a return to England could well be the best resolution, she eventually says her goodbyes and strikes back out for Tangier by train, no doubt tickled by as much fear as hope…

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www.estherfreud.co.uk

(Steve Rudd)

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