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Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate…
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Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995)

by Kate Atkinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,751971,388 (3.95)334
  1. 40
    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (Smiler69)
  2. 30
    The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (Smiler69)
  3. 10
    Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier (souci)
    souci: A not-romanticized look at the period
  4. 00
    When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman (jayne_charles)
  5. 00
    Human Croquet by Kate Atkinson (starfishian)
    starfishian: Atkinson has written books in a variety of genres, settings and topics. Human Croquet reminds me very much of Behind the Scenes; if you liked one, no doubt you will like the other.
  6. 00
    Family Baggage by Monica McInerney (KimarieBee)
  7. 00
    The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (hbsweet)
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» See also 334 mentions

English (93)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (97)
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
In the end, it is my belief, words are the only things that can construct a world that makes sense.

If this is what Kate Atkinson's first novel is like, I am incredibly excited to explore the rest of her works. Seriously, how can someone writing their first book be this good? No, the novel isn't perfect, but it's astonishingly well crafted for someone who is apparently a novice. Atkinson creates a fascinating main character in this book, a weird, wonderful protagonist, then nests her in the stories of the other women that led to her being her, that led to her being now. There are several wonderfully crafted women here, and I'm only somewhat disappointed that I didn't get to spend more time with some of them, particularly her early relatives. I'd rather not spend much time with her mum though. The story also contains a mystery of sorts, though it's reasonably easy to guess if you think about it for long enough.

I have maybe two minor nitpicks about the story. The first is the “twist”. Like many others have said, while I found the twist easy enough to guess, the whole situation is pretty implausible. While I can just about buy Ruby having blocked out her sister's existence due to PTSD or whatever, I can't really buy the whole attitude of the family where they just never speak about her again and manage never to reveal to Ruby until fairly late in the game that she ever had a sister.

My second problem was that the end of the story seemed a tad rushed. There's all sorts of stuff that happens in Ruby's life that I'd liked to have seen more of, and I think this is that rare novel that could actually do with a few more pages, rather than a few less.

Anyway, brilliant stuff. I own Life After Life and I'll definitely be giving it a read soon based on this. I give Behind the Scenes at the Museum nine out of ten.
  thebookmagpie | Mar 13, 2016 |
Thought this was wonderful. Combining a Yorkshire childhood with a lovely writing style - really involving.
  ellohull | Feb 10, 2016 |
Kate Atkinson's first novel

Ruby Lennox first speaks to us at the moment of her conception, and from then on, she is a funny, irreverent and heartbreaking narrator. Atkinson plays with time, as she goes back to explore the stories of the generations which lead to Ruby, and her terrible, damaged and damaging family. Extraordinarily good. ( )
  rglossne | Feb 9, 2016 |
In the end, it is my belief, words are the only things that can construct a world that makes sense.

If this is what Kate Atkinson's first novel is like, I am incredibly excited to explore the rest of her works. Seriously, how can someone writing their first book be this good? No, the novel isn't perfect, but it's astonishingly well crafted for someone who is apparently a novice. Atkinson creates a fascinating main character in this book, a weird, wonderful protagonist, then nests her in the stories of the other women that led to her being her, that led to her being now. There are several wonderfully crafted women here, and I'm only somewhat disappointed that I didn't get to spend more time with some of them, particularly her early relatives. I'd rather not spend much time with her mum though. The story also contains a mystery of sorts, though it's reasonably easy to guess if you think about it for long enough.

I have maybe two minor nitpicks about the story. The first is the “twist”. Like many others have said, while I found the twist easy enough to guess, the whole situation is pretty implausible. While I can just about buy Ruby having blocked out her sister's existence due to PTSD or whatever, I can't really buy the whole attitude of the family where they just never speak about her again and manage never to reveal to Ruby until fairly late in the game that she ever had a sister.

My second problem was that the end of the story seemed a tad rushed. There's all sorts of stuff that happens in Ruby's life that I'd liked to have seen more of, and I think this is that rare novel that could actually do with a few more pages, rather than a few less.

Anyway, brilliant stuff. I own Life After Life and I'll definitely be giving it a read soon based on this. I give Behind the Scenes at the Museum nine out of ten.
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
In the end, it is my belief, words are the only things that can construct a world that makes sense.

If this is what Kate Atkinson's first novel is like, I am incredibly excited to explore the rest of her works. Seriously, how can someone writing their first book be this good? No, the novel isn't perfect, but it's astonishingly well crafted for someone who is apparently a novice. Atkinson creates a fascinating main character in this book, a weird, wonderful protagonist, then nests her in the stories of the other women that led to her being her, that led to her being now. There are several wonderfully crafted women here, and I'm only somewhat disappointed that I didn't get to spend more time with some of them, particularly her early relatives. I'd rather not spend much time with her mum though. The story also contains a mystery of sorts, though it's reasonably easy to guess if you think about it for long enough.

I have maybe two minor nitpicks about the story. The first is the “twist”. Like many others have said, while I found the twist easy enough to guess, the whole situation is pretty implausible. While I can just about buy Ruby having blocked out her sister's existence due to PTSD or whatever, I can't really buy the whole attitude of the family where they just never speak about her again and manage never to reveal to Ruby until fairly late in the game that she ever had a sister.

My second problem was that the end of the story seemed a tad rushed. There's all sorts of stuff that happens in Ruby's life that I'd liked to have seen more of, and I think this is that rare novel that could actually do with a few more pages, rather than a few less.

Anyway, brilliant stuff. I own Life After Life and I'll definitely be giving it a read soon based on this. I give Behind the Scenes at the Museum nine out of ten.
  hoegbottom | Jan 30, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 93 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Atkinsonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jameson, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peterson, MarieForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torndahl, LenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For Eve and Helen
First words
I exist!
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The past's what you take with you.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Blurbers
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312150601, Paperback)

"I exist!" exclaims Ruby Lennox upon her conception in 1951, setting the tone for this humorous and poignant first novel in which Ruby at once celebrates and mercilessly skewers her middle-class English family. Peppered with tales of flawed family traits passed on from previous generations, Ruby's narrative examines the lives in her disjointed clan, which revolve around the family pet shop. But beneath the antics of her philandering father, her intensely irritable mother, her overly emotional sisters, and a gaggle of eccentric relatives are darker secrets--including an odd "feeling of something long forgotten"--that will haunt Ruby for the rest of her life. Kate Atkinson earned a Whitbread Prize in 1995 for this fine first effort.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:00:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In her profoundly moving, uniquely comic debut, Kate Atkinson introduces readers to the mind and world of Ruby Lennox, born above a pet shop in York at the halfway point of the twentieth century, and determined to understand both the family that precedes her and the life that awaits her. Taking her own conception as her starting point, the irrepressible Ruby narrates a story of four generations of women, from her great-grandmother's affair with a French photographer, to her mother's unfulfilled dreams of Hollywood glamour, to her young sister's efforts to upstage the Queen on Coronation Day. Hurtling in and out of both World Wars, economic downfalls, the onset of the permissive '60s, and up to the present day, Ruby paints a rich and vivid portrait of family heartbreak and happiness.… (more)

» see all 5 descriptions

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