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Description - Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

Ruby Lennox was conceived grudgingly by Bunty and born while her father, George, was in the Dog and Hare in Doncaster telling a woman in an emerald dress and a D-cup that he wasn't married. Bunty had never wanted to marry George, but here she was, stuck in a flat above the pet shop in an ancient street beneath York Minster, with sensible and sardonic Patrica aged five, greedy cross-patch Gillian who refused to be ignored, and Ruby...Ruby tells the story of The Family, from the day at the end of the nineteenth century when a travelling French photographer catches frail beautiful Alice and her children, like flowers in amber, to the startling, witty, and memorable events of Ruby's own life.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780552996181
ISBN-10: 0552996181
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 127mm x 32mm)
Pages: 512
Imprint: Black Swan
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publish Date: 3-Jan-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson

UK Kirkus Review » Ruby, the narrator, tells us about her Yorkshire childhood, starting within her mother's birth canal, waiting to be born. Interwoven into her childhood - full of bizarre events, as seen by Ruby (but probably nobody else) - are historical 'footnote' sections about Ruby's forebears, which work beautifully. Ruby's delivery is fast and furious, an overflowing cornucopia of stories, characters, dramatic events and adolescent angst - funny, vivid, original, with a neat surprise tucked into the end. Winner of the 1995 Whitbread Prize. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Spanning generations and both world wars, this British debut leaves no stone unturned in recounting the humorously turbulent family history of Ruby Lennox. Some novels grab the reader and hold on in a relentless pull to the finish. Others slowly reveal their secrets, unveiling quiet charms. Atkinson, winner of the lan St. James Award for her short stories, confidently creates a narrative and characters that fall into the latter category - a quirky assortment of angelic RAF gunmen and lecherous village butchers. With its unique beginning - "I exist!" cries Ruby, a minute-old fetus - the journey of Ruby's subsequent development, birth, and life up to middle age unfold amid alternating chapters narrating the tragicomic chronicle of her Yorkshire ancestors. From her great-grandmother Alice, who may or may not have died shortly after the itinerant photographer came round; to her grandmother Nell, who lost one fiance after another to the war to end all wars, finally settling for what was left; to her own mother, the formidable and hopelessly disenchanted Bunty, Ruby not only has the phantoms of the past to contend with but also her less than perfect immediate family. Life "above the shop" (pet shop, then medical supply mart after a fire consumes the pets) is an unending ordeal what with Bunty's permanent frown and father George's frequent indiscretions, not to mention the two other Lennox girls and the deadly secret they all keep from Ruby. With a natural storyteller's flair, Atkinson tumbles forth an array of anecdotes, revealed secrets, and eccentric snippets of love and death that finally build into the splendid chronicle, ghosts and all, of Ruby's life. With a sly, biting humor and honest warmth, a thoroughly enjoyable first novel with the promise of good things to come. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum. Her four bestselling novels featuring former detective Jackson Brodie became the BBC television series Case Histories, starring Jason Isaacs. Another novel, Life After Life, was the winner of the Costa Novel Award and the South Bank Sky Arts Literature Prize, and was shortlisted for the Women's Prize. It was also voted Book of the Year for the independent booksellers associations on both sides of the Atlantic. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List, and was voted Waterstones UK Author of the Year at the 2013 Specsavers National Book Awards.

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