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"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. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
The narrator's insistent voice and breezy delivery animates this enchanting first novel by a British writer who won one of the 1993 Ian St. James Awards for short stories. Ruby Lennox is a quirky, complex character who relates the events of her life and those of her dysfunctional family with equal parts humor, fervor and candor-starting with her moment of conception in York, England, in 1959: "I exist!" Ruby then describes the family she is to join. Her parents own a pet shop; her mother, Bunty, bitterly rues having married her philandering husband, George, and daydreams about what her life might have been. Ruby has two older sisters, willful Gillian and melancholy Patricia. Through its ambitious structure, the novel also charts five generations and more than a century of Ruby's family history, as reported in "footnotes" that follow relevant chapters. (For example, a passage about a pink glass button reveals the story of its original owner, Ruby's great-grandmother Alice, who will abandon her young family and run off with a French magician.) Ruby's richly imagined account includes both the details of daily life and the several tragic events that punctuate the family's mundane existence. Though the "footnote" entries are not quite as gripping as those rendered in Ruby's richly vernacular, energetic recitation, Atkinson's ebullient narrative style captures the troubled Lennox family with wit and poignant accuracy.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Love her writing and this novel did not disappoint. Having visited York & area a few years back made it even more interesting. Plan to keep reading more of her works.Published 13 months ago by Deborah Frankland
Some lovely, dark humour that actually made me laugh out loud. Given the fact that unfinished Kindle editions do not usually "call" to the reader in the way that an... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Ireaditall
I've enjoyed every one of Kate's novels, with this one the last I ended up reading. The novel was a great read and thought provoking. I highly recommend.Published on July 24 2013 by kaptaink
In this book, the fictional Ruby Lennox reflects on her childhood and her family - her bizarre parents and strange, self-absorbed sisters, and ofcourse the small (and large) events... Read morePublished on March 23 2004 by S. Becker
I liked this book so much I delayed reading the last five pages because I didn't want it to end! Though I couldn't always follow the backstory (the author uses chapters called... Read morePublished on Feb. 10 2004
Kate Atkinson's first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, is a book which every piece of "chick literature" should be written like. Read morePublished on Dec 3 2003 by Nobody!
Every now and then one comes across a book that is so brilliant that you want to recommend it to everyone you know. Behind the Scenes at the Museum is one of those books. Read morePublished on April 28 2003 by M. M. MacTier
I bought this book about 3 ½ years ago, then let it sit on my bookshelf collecting dust. This year I have made an attempt to read as many "old" books as possible and... Read morePublished on Dec 30 2002 by Dianna Setterfield
Friends sharing books they love usually means you're in for a treat. Thanks, Anya! BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE MUSEUM is a total triumph of a book. Read morePublished on Oct. 15 2002 by Grady Harp