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Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate…

Behind the Scenes at the Museum (1995)

by Kate Atkinson

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,8601031,338 (3.95)355
  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 355 mentions

English (98)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All (103)
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
A marvelous book. ( )
  Lewter | Dec 3, 2016 |
A favorite. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
A compulsive read, which is rare. I enjoyed the narrative alternating between Ruby Lennox, who was a spectacular narrator (almost all the way) throughout, and the story of Ruby's family. Atkinson uses a technique where she flashes forward and sometimes backward as introduces characters into books that I've always enjoyed - perfect for a reader who hates foreshadowing. My only quibble was her wrapping everything up in the end and Ruby the adult wasn't as interesting a narrator as Ruby the child. On one hand it was nice to find out certain things, on the other hand I really didn't need to know. Still, one of my best reads of the year and I suspect it will keep that status. ( )
  mkunruh | Nov 13, 2016 |
Atkinson is a writer who keeps the reader in good hands. I liked the structure (Ruby's life unfolds with "footnotes" that cover her family's history), though it was sometimes confusing. A meditation about families, how everyone and everything is connected in ways we don't even think about. ( )
  jjaylynny | Nov 12, 2016 |
We live in a place called 'Above the Shop' which is not a strictly accurate description as both the kitchen and dining-room are on the same level as the Shop itself and the topography also includes the satellite area of the Back Yard. The Shop (a pet shop) is in one of the ancient streets that cower beneath the looming dominance of York Minster. In this street lived the first printers and the stained-glass craftsmen that filled the windows of the city with coloured light. The Ninth Legion Hispana that conquered the north marched up and down our street, the via praetoria of their great fort, before they disappeared into thin air. Guy Fawkes was born here, Dick Turpin was hung a few streets away and Robinson Crusoe, that other great hero, is also a native son of this city. Who is to say which of these is real and which a fiction?

Ruby Lennox narrates her life story beginning with her conception in 1951. Each chapter provides a window to another year in Ruby's life. Ruby defines herself in relationship to her mother, her older sisters, her father, and her extended family of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Each chapter concludes with a footnote that anchors Ruby to her family's past in the stories of her grandmother Nell's and her mother Bunty's youths.

Up to now, my only experience with Kate Atkinson has been the Jackson Brodie novels. I liked Case Histories and loved the rest. I picked up her first novel with some trepidation. Would it live up to the Jackson Brodie novels? I'm happy to say that it exceeded my high expectations. Atkinson strikes a perfect balance between strong characters, vivid settings, and narrative pace in a distinctive voice. As she does in the Jackson Brodie novels, Atkinson follows chains of small events that propel characters toward major events that will change the course of her characters' lives. Atkinson is well on her way to becoming my favorite currently active author. ( )
4 vote cbl_tn | Oct 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 98 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Atkinsonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Jameson, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peterson, MarieForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torndahl, LenaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)

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