Behind The Scenes At The Museum (Mass Market Paperback) by Kate Atkinson

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List Price: £8.99

Mass Market Paperback: 512 Pages.

Published: 1996 by Black Swan

Edition: New Jacket

ISBN: 0552996181

EAN: 9780552996181

Review by Anne

4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars (4 from a possible 5)

How the past affects the present

This story starts with the birth of Ruby and then unravels backwards examining various of her recent ancestors and scenes from their life. Each travel back in time concentrates on an object which is important in the story of those in the past and who also appears in Ruby's story although by then it has lost its significance and is often mentioned only in passing. The author is trying to show us that the rich and complex lives of people have little meaning in the present yet the present only occurs the way that it does because the past has occurred the way that it did. It is a clever premise and makes for fascinating reading as you watch the author tie things together.

The people that make up Ruby's extended family are often dissatisfied and seem to live lives that are mostly unfulfilled. There are a few instances too where there are family secrets which affect the next generation. The story starts at the beginning of the twentieth century and follows it through until after the second world war. The author is good at representing the social norms of each time but this is a story of small lives and although they are affected by big events they don't themselves affect them.

I thought that the book was clever and well written and I mostly enjoyed it although I did get a bit bogged down in the middle - maybe because I wasn't quite sure what the author was doing with the story. I am glad I read it.

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