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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
3,559891,487 (3.95)312
  1. 30
    The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (Smiler69)
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    The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (Smiler69)
  3. 00
    When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman (jayne_charles)
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    The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber (hbsweet)
  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)
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» See also 312 mentions

English (85)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (89)
Showing 1-5 of 85 (next | show all)
This book tells the story of Ruby Lennox, from her conception to her old age. Interspersed with her story is the story of her mother - Bunty, her Grandmother - Nell, and her Great-grandmother - Alice. Both World Wars are background to the various generation's lives.

I started out loving this book - the writing is good and the format was inventive. Atkinson generally uses objects to bridge the flashbacks into other generations and then tells the flashback in a lengthy "footnote". So the reader reads about a button that a child finds and there is a footnote cue. That footnote then tells in a roundabout way why the button is where it is, also revealing another character's story. It is a clever technique and I thought it was very effective.

The problem I had with this book was that there is a lot of unhappiness in it. There are a lot of children dying, men dying in wars, and people dying in accidents. Also, most of the characters seem trapped in boring, unfulfilling lives. I just thought the balance wasn't right in this book. It didn't feel like it was intended to be a sad book, but it kind of depressed me. ( )
  japaul22 | Apr 23, 2015 |
A wonderful story, I loved it from start to finish. ( )
  taylored62 | Apr 16, 2015 |
Behind the Scenes at the Museum is a very short book which I listened to on cd. Ruby, a young girl whose story is woven in and out of the novel from her conception through adulthood, though not in a sequential manner, is sad and somewhat hard to follow. The setting begins in Britan, in a a flat in York where the family lives and Ruby is conceived. The time begins around World War I and the interplay between Ruby, whose own lack of self worth, lack of love from her mother and her meandering father George all are cemented in sadness in the strained relationship with her sisters.

The storyline in the book is depressing as it tries to give an inside look of what it would be like love a poor, uneducated and disfunctional family in Britan during the this time. It does not provide any sense of relief for the family caught in a stagnent world of depression, blame and weakness. Moving from the past to the present and spaning the time between both World War I and World War II, Ruby’s memories and thoughts leave the reader with a sense of emotional loss. This is not a book that I would recommend except for those who want a glimpse of one family’s history during this time in 19th century England. I would rate it 3 stars. ( )
  WeeziesBooks | Mar 1, 2015 |
"The past is what you leave behind in life, Ruby," she says with the smile of a reincarnated lama. "Nonsense, Patricia," I tell her as I climb on board my train. "The past's what you take with you." Page 331

Ruby Lennox is our intrepid narrator, weaving a tale that begins with her conception and all the subsequent years in between. Atkinson takes us through the stories of Ruby's family, generations of people, countless names, faces, and experiences. Secrets are revealed, memories are recovered, and at the core of it all is the relationships between people, the bonds that are broken and restored and the reality that life so exquisitely ordinary can also be painfully beautiful.

I can definitely see the hype that comes with Atkinson's books because she is one heck of a storyteller. The problem is with my ability to connect with plethora of characters in the Behind the Scenes at the Museum. There is a lot of them and there is a lot of jumping around with different times and different lives so that each time I would have to reorient myself and mentally picture which part of the family tree I've landed on. Despite all that, there were definitely moments where I marvelled at how she was able to write about rather mundane everyday living and still make it readable and enjoyable. If nothing else, it has perked my interest to read her other books for comparison to see if perhaps there I will find more connection with her characters and the stories they have to share. ( )
  jolerie | Dec 16, 2014 |
I'm very fond of Kate Atkinson, she is a splendid storyteller. Moving back and forth in time from one generation to another, the story gives us four generations in all, both World Wars and a great deal of happiness and sorrow. ( )
  Iira | Nov 9, 2014 |
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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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For Eve and Helen
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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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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:41 -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)

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