Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson, NOOK Book (eBook) | Barnes & Noble
Behind the Scenes at the Museum: A Novel

Behind the Scenes at the Museum: A Novel

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by Kate Atkinson
     
 

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National Bestseller

Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year

Kate Atkinson's dazzling debut novel is a deeply moving story of family heartbreak and happiness.

Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an

Overview

National Bestseller

Winner of the Whitbread Book of the Year

Kate Atkinson's dazzling debut novel is a deeply moving story of family heartbreak and happiness.

Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her family and its secrets.

Editorial Reviews

Fiction Digest
From the moment Ruby Lennox announces her own conception with the shout, "I exist!"—an event she attributes to the five pints of bitter her father drank—it is clear she won't leave anything out of the account of her Yorkshire family. She describes her great-grandmother's affair with a French photographer, her mother's dashed dreams of Hollywood glamor and her sister's unsuccessful attempt to upstage the queen of England. A first novel.
Synopsis copyright Fiction Digest
Megan Harlan

In her offbeat, playful, and often poignant first novel, the young British writer Kate Atkinson offers us the voice of a jubilant, irreverent narrator, Ruby Lennox, who at once celebrates and mercilessly skewers her middle-class English family. From the moment of her conception in York in 1951 (the novel is smartly launched with the exclamation, "I exist!"), Ruby casts a frank and omniscient eye on her disjointed clan, viewing with growing alarm her distant, philandering father George, her profoundly irritable mother Bunty, and her two emotionally overwhelmed sisters. Life for the Lennox clan revolves around the family petshop, the occasional tragedy (such as when the petshop burns down), and visits with a bevy of eccentric relatives. Atkinson, who has won the UK's prestigious Ian St. James Award for her short stories, seamlessly alternates this normal, workaday world with darker family secrets -- including an odd "feeling of something long forgotten" that will haunt Ruby throughout her life.

Through a series of lengthy "footnotes" that follow each chapter, Atkinson also recounts tales drawn from over a century of the family's history -- tracing the passage of oddities and flawed traits from one generation to the next. A few of these work as colorful snapshots, as when Ruby's great-grandmother runs away with a French magician, or when we learn that the Second World War, for Bunty, was not so much a matter of getting a husband as acquiring a personality. But the majority of the tales (such as the one in which her grandmother buys new boots after the Boer War), do little to illuminate the more compelling modern-day narrative. Worse still, they lack Ruby's clever voice. In the end, Atkinson is so successful in creating her wry, witty central character that any other perspective seems like a digression we don't want to follow. -- Salon

Hilary Mantel
"Delivers its jokes and tradgedies as efficiently as Dickens once delivered his, though Atkinson has a gameplan more sophisticated than Dickens....will dazzle readers for years to come." - The Long Review of Books
Ben MacIntyre
"Remarkable...full of the grimness, grit, and grandeur of Yorkshire life...one of the funnies books to come out of Britain in years." -- The New York Times Book Review
Georgia Jones-Davis
"Stunning...out Copperfield's David Copperfield's....The power has such storytelling, a treasure chest bursting with the painful, pitiful, sad, always fascinating details of the most ordinary of lives." -- The Los Angeles Times

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781466842663
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
04/02/2013
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
36,137
File size:
667 KB

Meet the Author

Kate Atkinson is the author of a short-story collection, Not the End of the World, and five critically acclaimed novels including Case Histories and One Good Turn. She lives in Edinburgh, UK.
Kate Atkinson is the author of a short-story collection, Not the End of the World, and critically acclaimed novels including Human Croquet, Case Histories and One Good Turn. She lives in Edinburgh, UK.

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