I really enjoyed this read but am finding it very hard to review without it making me sound like a rambling old biddy There are so many things I liked about that are running through my head like little soundbites, but I can t seem to write anything coherent about it But I will try.
Ruby Lennox is narrating the story of her life, from the moment of her conception, through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood Her narration is at times funny, at others sad and moving, but she has a very wry witty voice and is sometimes extremely scathing about other members of her family I wasn t quite 100% sure about the concept of her being able to describe her life from the point of conception, but I went with the flow and really enjoyed it in the end, particularly the way she talked about what was going to happen to members of her family in the future, dropping little hints to me about their fates which kept me glued to the book.
Her story is punctuated by footnotes in the form of chapters which go on to describe of her family history, going right back to her great grandmother Alice, her grandmother Nell and mother Bunty These footnotes can be a little confusing at first they are not told in chronological order and focus on quite a number of characters, but they do help create a vivid picture of a family over the course of the 20th century It is not until you get to the end of the book that all these footnotes come together with the main story to give you the full picture of the family, long hidden secrets, closet skeletons and all.
The non chronological retelling did take a little getting used to, but once I did, it felt quite natural After all, how many times has someone said Did I ever tell you about your uncle so so, he died in a car crash In reality, we don t build up knowledge of our family in chronological order either It is built up of snippets released to us over time.
I wouldn t exactly call them dysfunctional but they are certainly unusual In each generation it is the mother who is the focal point of the story and, with the exception of Alice, we see them growing up, marrying, having children and each one coming to the realisation that they are not living the life they intended to live I have to say that I found each woman likeable as a child and tended to go off them as they grew older and embittered They each seemed to lose their warmth and turned into cold, bitter women who struggled to show love or, indeed, any real happiness The question that really burned in my mind was would Ruby follow the pattern laid down by previous generations, or will she find the contentment in life that the others lacked It is a really cracking, meandering in a good way read about a family and its skeletons in its closets, stuffed full with little scenes of a family history that will stay with me The one thing that I do want to say, without spoiling the read for anyone else is the dogs, the dogs, the dogs There were a couple of times when I was reading the book and just had to lean over and give my little dog an extra fuss and love.
God, I can t even begin to express my depth of loathing for this book I forced myself through to within about 60 pages of the end, but then I just couldn t bear it any I just didn t want to know any about the vile people in this ridiculous family with all their dark, dirty, entirely predictable secrets Gaaaah I left it behind on a plane somewhere Should have attached a toxic warning label.
Behind the Scenes at the Museum is really a very good book, marred by one gimmick that frustrates me because it s so unnecessary to the story Kate Atkinson is telling For the most part, however, I enjoyed this one immensely Atkinson has a knack for turns of phrase that are amusing and piercing and unexpected, and I loved these in particular The story is meandering, and weaves back and forth in time, but it was the sort of meander I greatly enjoy Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.
In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook Kate Atkinson s first novel won the Whitbread Book of the Year in 1995, beating such heavyweights as Salman Rushdie and his The Moor s Last Sigh Behind the Scenes at the Museum us ab ambitious book a sprawling saga which spans decades of events and covers several generations of characters Behind the Scenes at the Museum opens with the birth of its all seeing narrator, Ruby Lennox, who begins her narration literally from conception the first chapter begins with Ruby proclaiming I exist at the exact moment The novel consists of 13 chapters, in each of which Ruby describes life of the Lennoxes, a middle class English family from York, and their life in post war Britain from 1951 to 1992 Each chapter is followed by a footnote, which consists of events being narrated from another perspective Ruby s mother, Bunty, Nell, her grandmother, and the great grandmother, Alice These footnotes although non chronological provide additional information for certain characters decisions, and explain some of the mysteries concerning missing relatives or family treasures.
With its large cast of characters and extensive timeline, Behind the Scenes at the Museum is also a social history of England in miniature, with the various Lennoxes and their acquaintances standing in for the ordinary people of Britain before, during, and after the War Although Ruby is a charming and funny narrator, the story she tells is anything but people make poor choices and suffer the consequences, dreaming of what might have been such as Ruby s mother, Bunty, who is unhappy in her marriage to George, her father Personal relationships are bleak and unfulfilling in this novel, and there are many deaths both of people and animals It s full of humor, but not in a funny ha ha sort of way, but funny sad.
Still, it s a first novel and it shows The amount of characters to keep track of is huge we ve got mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, sisters, brothers, cousins, niecesas the book progresses it becomes and difficult to keep track of them all, which is why a family tree included in each copy would be very helpful With the introduction of each character the novel lost a bit of its initial momentum Ruby s enthusiastic I exist , a proclamation of the beginning of something important and extraordinary turned into I exist , a mundane and ordinary existence, filled with unhappiness and lost opportunities, where we re laughing only not to cry Still, with each new character introduced and another unhappy relationship served on my plate I haven t either laughed or cried because frankly, my dears, I ceased to give a damn.
My only experience of Kate Atkinson s writing until now has been three of the four novels in her Jackson Brodie series, which starts with Case Histories Quirky is the obvious adjective to describe Atkinson s writing It has lots of dry humour and sardonic wit, intricate plotting and random connections and coincidences deliberately used to advance the narrative There s a certain flippancy in the tone which brings into sharp relief the often very serious themes with which Atkinson deals This is not a mystery novel, although it does have a mystery element It s the story of Ruby Lennox, commencing with her conception and birth, which Ruby narrates I really love Ruby, who is smart, funny and insightful Part of Ruby s charm, particularly when she is small, is her adult and very knowing voice However, this is not just Ruby s story At the end of each chapter dealing with Ruby s life is another chapter a footnote which deals with episodes in the life of Ruby s mother Bunty, her grandmother Nell and her great grandmother Alice The novel becomes a tale of dysfunctional families, of women who make poor choices when they marry and of difficult relationships between mothers and daughters In the inter linking of the stories of these women and the shifts backwards and forwards in time, the meaning of the title becomes clear The footnotes explain things which the characters don t know about their past the reason for a particular expression on the face of Ruby s great grandmother in a family portrait, where an heirloom locket comes from, where an ancestor who disappeared actually went to These are the mysteries which exist in all families In addition to being a family history, there s also a sense in which this novel is a social history of 20th century England and in particular of the experiences of ordinary people during World War I and World War II Although the tone of the novel is generally light hearted because of the way Ruby tells her story, most of the events it narrates are extremely sad There are lots of deaths including deaths of children and animals The relationships between wives and husbands and between parents and children are far from ideal and very few of the characters lead happy or fulfilled lives But for all that, this is a book which made me laugh a lot It s probably one of the funniest sad books I ve ever read This was Atkinson s first novel and it shows I see it as having two major and one minor weakness The first of the major weaknesses is that it s very difficult to keep track of all of the characters in each generation There s not just Ruby, her mother, grandmother and great grandmother to keep track of Ruby s sisters, her aunts, uncles, cousins, and the sisters and brothers of her grandmother all make an appearance A list of characters at the front would have saved me from confusion The second major weakness is that the narrative lost momentum towards the end and took too long to be resolved A minor weakness is that Ruby s behaviour as a child sometimes was not always consistent with her chronological age and her POV intruded into a footnote where it didn t belong Overall, this was a good read and I enjoyed sharing the reading experience with my friend Jemidar Funny, sad, moving and poignant, the novel has lots going for it notwithstanding its flaws and deserves a low four stars However, it s not a novel for everyone Reading the first chapter will confirm whether or not Atkinson s style appeals An allusion to The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman Atkinson acknowledges this by having one of the characters read excerpts of the novel to her sister.
Kate Atkinson has written a multigenerational story about a dysfunctional family It starts with the conception of the narrator, Ruby Lennox, in York in 1952 Her mother is irritable and unhappy, her father is a philanderer, and her sisters are not very likable Chapters with Ruby s story moving forward alternate with flashback chapters filling us in on the family history, going back to Ruby s great grandmother It s a family tale of loss, lack of fulfillment, and unhappiness However, Atkinson s ironic sense of humor and Ruby s upbeat personality prevent the story from being a dark book.
Family secrets are foreshadowed, and slowly revealed One of the most heartbreaking secrets comes close to the end of the book It s a very complex book with an elaborate plot and many interconnections The further I read into the book, the I liked it The chapters on World Wars I and II were especially poignant Behind the Scenes at the Museum is very sophisticated for a first novel, and the author won the Whitbread Award Atkinson s great gift is the ability to see the comic in tragic situations.
, Costa Book Awards Whitbread Book Awards.
Elevator pitch ,
5 At the moment at which I moved from nothingness into being my mother was pretending to be asleep as she often does at such moments My father, however, is made of stern stuff and he didn t let that put him off And this, dear reader, is how we meet Ruby Lennox During her life, she often announces herself by calling out It s just Ruby , but she s often addressed as ShutupRuby She tells her family s story in the first person, and mixed with her earliest memories admittedly a lot earlier than any of mine, or, I daresay, yours are many other people Lots of other people Lots and lots of other people And they re all related, one way or another Or would be, if they d married as intended.
Ruby is speaking today about her past and the present, while the others stories are told in the third person by the author We always know when it s Ruby, but my goodness I get my mothers and grand mothers and great aunts and not really aunts but probably father s floozy mixed up It s not that they aren t described well It s just that sometimes there s so much back story that I start following that thread and losing the main one.
Reading Atkinson is like looking through someone s photograph album with them and as they get to a group picture, they point to someone in the back row and say this is me talking, not AtkinsonOh, that s Eve I must tell you about her She was such a character and my cousin Adam absolutely adored her and would do anything for her In fact, once when they were in this garden, she found an apple tree andAnd there s a long, drawn out story that recurs now and then about them and their children who used to play with someone else s children and they all grew up and went off to war, except for the poor sickly one who died of diphtheria, that was so sad, and I get so caught up in that story that I completely lose track of what relationship the original person in the photo had to do with Ruby or her people , that I forget where I was But it almost doesn t matter I don t remember if she s writing about WW1 or WW2, except that the trenches were One and the aerial dogfights were Two, and we Ruby s family lost people in both of them, although I couldn t tell you who was lost in which one.
War is a major backdrop to some sections Some boyfriends and would be fianc s march off, never to return Atkinson reduces the cast numbers by a chap here or there, but she also gives us some unintended pregnancies here or there, so life goes on Bunty had great hopes for the war there was something attractive about the way it took away certainty and created new possibilities Betty said it was like tossing coins in the air and wondering where they would land and it made it much likely that something exciting would happen to Bunty and it didn t really matter whether it was the unbelievably handsome man or a bomb it would all mean a change in one way or another I have a sneaking suspicion that the author found this to be true of war as well It would make something happen In the end, Bunty s war had been a disappointment She lost something in the war but she didn t find out until it was too late that it was the chance to be somebody else Somewhere at the back of Bunty s dreams another war would always play a war in which she manned searchlights and loaded ack acks, a war in which she was resourceful and beautiful, not to mention plucky and where String of Pearls played endlessly in the de Grey Rooms as a succession of unbelievably handsome officers whirled Bunty off into another life Atkinson did write a novel called Life After Life, which was perhaps inspired by Bunty s dreams, who knows This was her first novel, and what a wonderful and convoluted story it is I love the writing, the descriptions, and the characters some stoic, some comic, some quite mad Not a one of them is boring I just wish I could keep the generations straight An example of her writing that I enjoy She pushes her hair back from her forehead in a centuries old genetic gesture of suffering The life of a woman is hard and she ll be damned if anyone is going to rob her of her sainthood Another he was looking at the night sky above him, spread out like an astronomer s map And then a wave of blackness crept slowly across the sky as somebody rolled up the map I just wish there were a cast of characters and a big family tree, neighbours included, for people like me I d have given it five stars if I d had that read and reviewed Jan 2018 I mention that because Goodreads sometimes mixes up the dates.
Behind The Scenes Follow Us Backstage Rinitialiser Le Mot De Passe Entrez L Identifiant Ou L Adresse Email Utilise Pour Votre Profil Un Lien De Rinitialisation De Mot De Passe Vous Sera Envoy Par Email Behind The Scenes Traduction Franaise Linguee We Ll Take You Behind The Scenes And Show You How We Helped DND Handle Some Of Its Toughest Jobs Dcc Cdcgc Nous Allons Vo Us Amener Dan S Les Coulisses Et Vous M Ontrer De Quelle Manire Nous Avons A Id Le MDN Accomplir Certaines De S Es Tch Es Pa Rmi Les Plu S Dif Ficil Es Behind The Scenes YouTubebehind The Scenes English French Dictionarybehind The Scenes Adv Adverb Describes A Verb, Adjective, Adverb, Or Clause For Example, Come Quickly, Very Rare, Happening Now, Fall Down Figurative Privately Figur En Coulisse, En Coulisses Loc Adv Locution Adverbiale Groupe De Mots Qui Servent D Adverbe Behind The Scenes Traduction Franaise DictionnaireExemples D Usage Pour Behind The Scenes En Franais Ces Phrases Proviennent De Sources Externes Et Peuvent Ne Pas Tre Tout Fait Correctes Bab Dcline Toute Responsabilit Vis Vis De Leurs Contenus Davantage D Informations Ici Behind The Scenes Definition And Meaning Collins Behind The Scenes He Will Be Working Quietly To Try To Get A Deal Done Behind The Scenes Definition Of Behind The Behind The Scenes Definition Is Being Or Working Out Of Public View Or In Secret How To Use Behind The Scenes In A Sentence Behind The Scenes With Laurence Fishburne Behind The Scenes With Host Laurence Fishburne Is An Award Winning Educational Television Series Highlighting The Evolution Of Education, Medicine, Science, Behind The Scenes Idioms By The Free Dictionary In Secret Or Private, Away From Public View, As In His Struggle For The Top Position Took Place Strictly Behind The Scenes This Term Alludes To The Various Activities That Go On Behind The Curtain In Theaters, Out Of The Audience S View Late S Also See Behind Closed Doors Thesaurus Results For BEHIND THE SCENES Seen And Heard What Made You Want To Look Up Behind The Scenes Please Tell Us Where You read Or Heard It Including The Quote, If Possible