ABOUTBOOK: From the moment Ruby Lennox announces her own conception ("I exist!"), it is clear that she is a narrator who will leave no stone unturned in her account of family life above a pet shop in England. Not content simply to describe her own ...
circumstances, Ruby investigates the lives of the women in family both past and present, from her great-grandmother's affair with a French photographer to her mother's unfulfilled dreams of Hollywood glamour. Hurtling in and out of both World Wars, economic downfalls, the onset of the permissive '60's, and up to the present day, Ruby paints a rich and vivid portrait of heartbreak and happiness, and from it draws a rare understanding of the shared secrets, hopes and failures that unite every family. DISCUSSIONQUES: What do cupboards have to do with the story? More than one reviewer compared Behind the Scenes at the Museum to Tristram Shandy and to the works of Marcel Proust and Charles Dickens. What might these novels have in common? How does Kate Atkinson update or expand upon the earlier books' use of narration and history? One of Atkinson's innovations is her use of footnotes. Why do you think she adopted this non-fiction technique in a novel? Although this novel is very much about a specific time and place, it has been embraced by audiences in twelve countries, in as many languages. What gives Behind the Scenes at the Museum such a universal appeal? What is the meaning of the book's title? What other fictional narrators does Ruby Lennox bring to mind? What does Behind the Scenes at the Museum say about women's roles and opportunities in the family and in the world at large? What do the four generations of women in Ruby's family have in common? Behind the Scenes at the Museum generated controversy in England when a critic called it "anti-family." How would you defend the book against this charge? What other novels, now considered classics, might have had to face this sort of accusation? AUTHORBIO: Kate Atkinson was born in York in 1951, she earned her master's degree in English literature at Dundee University, and did further graduate work in American literature. While raising her two daughters, she held a variety of jobs, from university tutor to welfare benefits administrator, and always wrote, publishing short stories in British magazines and finally her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, in 1995 in England and 1996 in the United States. The critical response in both countries was overwhelming, and Atkinson's talent was justly celebrated when Behind the Scenes at the Museum was named England's Whitbread Book of the Year.
Ci vorrebbe il GPS per seguire tutte le incursioni nel passato e nel futuro di Ruby Lennox, che incontriamo già onniscente nel momento stesso in cui viene concepita, un po' come Tristram Shandy - non a caso citato più avanti nel libro. Ora, non
...", non siamo in presenza di un capolavoro straordinario come quello di Sterne, che resterà sempre a mio parere personale uno dei libri più belli che mi possa capitare di leggere, e tuttavia Kate Atkinson non se la cava affatto male. La scrittura leggera e piena di grazia e umorismo le consente di veleggiare sulle disgrazie più terribili senza lasciarsi trascinare a fondo. E anche la quantità impressionante di personaggi che riesce a tirar fuori dal cilindro, anche se si fa davvero fatica a ricordare di preciso chi sono e di chi sono figli/genitori/nonni/zii, assolvono al loro compito di popolare quel mare di spilli che Ruby Lennox scopre quando arriva in fondo al mondo. Questo è il suo libro d'esordio, ma la Atkinson già mostra benissimo le qualità che spiccano ancora più nette e mature in Vita dopo Vita. Non ho ancora finito con te, Kate Atkinson, ci rivedremo presto.Continua...Nascondi
Not funny at all. I can see why it's considered "dark" but it definitely did not make me laugh. I guess I don't have that kind of humour in me. In any case, I truly enjoyed it. I wish there was a family tree on the back of the front cover. It'd have
..." helped me figure out who was who at the beginning. I picked it up thinking it was another Brodie novel (had not read anything about it previously) and it was pretty obvious from the first sentence it wasn't . Still, since I like Kate Atkinson's style I kept it and carried on reading: very neat descriptions of character (and those can be funny, I guess); the unusual point of view of a narrator who's narrating from an almost "out of body" point of view. A narrator that's a character within the story and yet has an omnipresent knowledge of all in it. The whole bit of life in sequence made me think of Atkinson's Life After Life, which I also enjoyed. And it marvelled me to think of a mind (Atkinson's, of course) able to create all those links past and present and not lose track. An enjoyable story not to be read lightly. Grab a nice cup of tea, find a cosy sea at home by the window and let Ruby introduce you to her family and the history of England between WW1 and the nineteen nineties.Continua...Nascondi
I found the book fairly complex, packed with lots of different characters and interesting developments. Once started, I couldn’t put it down. Comprehensive background material including a well-researched family tree is also readily available on
..." the Internet. The only flaw I found was on the very last page where Ruby explains that she took up translation work for a living. Having been married to an Italian for a few years, she happily translates English technical books into Italian. As a professional translator she ought to translate into her mother tongue, i.e. from Italian into English, as the other way round would go against the professional code of conduct – unless of course Italian was her language of habitual use, which it is clearly not. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, which I would highly recommend. I now look forward to discussing “Behind the Scenes at the Museum” further…Continua...Nascondi