Read epub Behind the Scenes at the Museum – Mariahilff.de

Ruby Lennox begins narrating her life at the moment of conception, and from there takes us on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of an English girl determined to learn about her family and its secrets Kate Atkinson has written a multigenerational story about a dysfunctional family It starts with the conception of the narrator, Ruby Lennox, in York in 1952 Her mother is irritable and unhappy, her father is a philanderer, and her sisters are not very likable Chapters with Ruby s story moving forward alternate with flashback chapters filling us in on the family history, going back to Ruby s great grandmother It s a family tale of loss, lack of fulfillment, and unhappiness However, Atkinson Kate Atkinson has written a multigenerational story about a dysfunctional family It starts with the conception of the narrator, Ruby Lennox, in York in 1952 Her mother is irritable and unhappy, her father is a philanderer, and her sisters are not very likable Chapters with Ruby s story moving forward alternate with flashback chapters filling us in on the family history, going back to Ruby s great grandmother It s a family tale of loss, lack of fulfillment, and unhappiness However, Atkinson s ironic sense of humor and Ruby s upbeat personality prevent the story from being a dark book.Family secrets are foreshadowed, and slowly revealed One of the most heartbreaking secrets comes close to the end of the book It s a very complex book with an elaborate plot and many interconnections The further I read into the book, theI liked it The chapters on World Wars I and II were especially poignant Behind the Scenes at the Museum is very sophisticated for a first novel, and the author won the Whitbread Award Atkinson s great gift is the ability to see the comic in tragic situations As a family, we are genetically disposed towards having accidents First and foremost, this is a challenging ambitious book,so than Life after Life The narrative is a labyrinth of twists and turns, false trails, loops and double helixes There s also an awful lot to remember because for some time it isn t obvious which details or even characters are paramount and which stuffing It covers four generations of a family from WW1 almost to the present day On the surface it s a tragi come As a family, we are genetically disposed towards having accidents First and foremost, this is a challenging ambitious book,so than Life after Life The narrative is a labyrinth of twists and turns, false trails, loops and double helixes There s also an awful lot to remember because for some time it isn t obvious which details or even characters are paramount and which stuffing It covers four generations of a family from WW1 almost to the present day On the surface it s a tragi comedy, a family saga, primarily narrated by Ruby Lennox, born in the 1950s You could though say it s a gradual debunking of family mythology to find deeperconsequential truths All families have their mythologies anecdotes or opportunistic fabrications that play the historian s role in simplifying and sanitising the official story That these anecdotes are often a form of deliberate mystification or downright evasive lies on the part of one individual we all know or suspect from our own families The series currently on TV about Bloomsbury is an example of taking mythology at face value and presenting it as the whole truth It s one reason why the series is so wooden and bloodless Because the writer has failed utterly to imaginatively penetrate the various anecdotes that have come to erroneously define Bloomsbury so we have Virginia Woolf as some dessicated twittering bundle of nerves who s frigid and socially barely able to string a coherent sentence together What Atkinson does is to lay down first the mythology often created by parents who don t want their children to know certain shameful truths and then slowly peel off that outer crust Individual memory is continually altering collective memory The often opportunistic nature of memory is a central theme And memory is often shown to reside in the secret history of objects, all of which Atkinson describes and utilises brilliantly as cyphers ofenduring truths than the fabrications created by the adult world for children She plays all these memory games with an ingenious series of chapters known as footnotes She also lays down a mirroring impression of York itself as a city haunted by phantoms and mythologies Ruby s mother Bunty is the fulcrum of the novel the reservoir in which all the family memories have collected but she is not a reliable historian because of the severely disciplined or repressed nature of her emotions so when she loses her memory to dementia there is the sense that Ruby is finally free of the spurious shackles of her family history This is one of those novels that becomesingenious theyou think about it I didn t always enjoy it while reading it one problem I had was that my sense of humour doesn t quite chime with Atkinson s which can verge on slapstick at times There s also so little tenderness in the book It s a rather brittle grey heartless world Atkinson depicts Mothers do not love their children or their husbands Children often don t like their siblings The tone is anything but bleak though almost it s lighthearted even when touching on tragic events This is one of the clever quirks of this novel It should be bleak but it manages to be exuberant often There s also a huge cast of characters and I found it virtually impossible to retain memory of them all And a number of clever plotting tricks that continually knock you out of your sense of being able to easily follow the narrative As a reading experience I would have given it three stars but, as I said, only now am I beginning to understand its complexities of design and intent I have this overriding feeling it s a novel that will revealof its brilliant ingenuity on a second reading There s also one of the best descriptions of Italian spoken in anger I ve ever come across when it s described as being embroidered in blood 4.5 January 2018 At the moment at which I moved from nothingness into being my mother was pretending to be asleep as she often does at such moments My father, however, is made of stern stuff and he didn t let that put him off And this, dear reader, is how we meet Ruby Lennox During her life, she often announces herself by calling out It s just Ruby , but she s often addressed as ShutupRuby She tells her family s story in the first person, and mixed with her earliest memories admitt 4.5 January 2018 At the moment at which I moved from nothingness into being my mother was pretending to be asleep as she often does at such moments My father, however, is made of stern stuff and he didn t let that put him off And this, dear reader, is how we meet Ruby Lennox During her life, she often announces herself by calling out It s just Ruby , but she s often addressed as ShutupRuby She tells her family s story in the first person, and mixed with her earliest memories admittedly a lot earlier than any of mine, or, I daresay, yours are many other people Lots of other people Lots and lots of other people And they re all related, one way or another Or would be, if they d married as intended.Ruby is speaking today about her past and the present, while the others stories are told in the third person by the author We always know when it s Ruby, but my goodness I get my mothers and grand mothers and great aunts and not really aunts but probably father s floozy mixed up It s not that they aren t described well It s just that sometimes there s so much back story that I start following that thread and losing the main one.Reading Atkinson is like looking through someone s photograph album with them and as they get to a group picture, they point to someone in the back row and say this is me talking, not AtkinsonOh, that s Eve I must tell you about her She was such a character and my cousin Adam absolutely adored her and would do anything for her In fact, once when they were in this garden, she found an apple tree and And there s a long, drawn out story that recurs now and then about them and their children who used to play with someone else s children and they all grew up and went off to war, except for the poor sickly one who died of diphtheria, that was so sad, andI get so caught up in that story that I completely lose track of what relationship the original person in the photo had to do with Ruby or her people , that I forget where I was But it almost doesn t matter I don t remember if she s writing about WW1 or WW2, except that the trenches were One and the aerial dogfights were Two, and we Ruby s family lost people in both of them, although I couldn t tell you who was lost in which one.War is a major backdrop to some sections Some boyfriends and would be fianc s march off, never to return Atkinson reduces the cast numbers by a chap here or there, but she also gives us some unintended pregnancies here or there, so life goes on Bunty had great hopes for the war there was something attractive about the way it took away certainty and created new possibilities Betty said it was like tossing coins in the air and wondering where they would land and it made it muchlikely that something exciting would happen to Bunty and it didn t really matter whether it was the unbelievably handsome man or a bomb it would all mean a change in one way or another I have a sneaking suspicion that the author found this to be true of war as well It would make something happen In the end, Bunty s war had been a disappointment She lost something in the war but she didn t find out until it was too late that it was the chance to be somebody else Somewhere at the back of Bunty s dreams another war would always play a war in which she manned searchlights and loaded ack acks, a war in which she was resourceful and beautiful, not to mention plucky and where String of Pearls played endlessly in the de Grey Rooms as a succession of unbelievably handsome officers whirled Bunty off into another life Atkinson did write a novel called Life After Life, which was perhaps inspired by Bunty s dreams, who knows This was her first novel, and what a wonderful and convoluted story it is I love the writing, the descriptions, and the characters some stoic, some comic, some quite mad Not a one of them is boring I just wish I could keep the generations straight An example of her writing that I enjoy She pushes her hair back from her forehead in a centuries old genetic gesture of suffering The life of a woman is hard and she ll be damned if anyone is going to rob her of her sainthood Anotherhe was looking at the night sky above him, spread out like an astronomer s map And then a wave of blackness crept slowly across the sky as somebody rolled up the map I just wish there were a cast of characters and a big family tree, neighbours included, for people like me I d have given it five stars if I d had that Read and reviewed Jan 2018 I mention that because Goodreads sometimes mixes up the dates God, I can t even begin to express my depth of loathing for this book I forced myself through to within about 60 pages of the end, but then I just couldn t bear it anyI just didn t want to know anyabout the vile people in this ridiculous family with all their dark, dirty, entirely predictable secrets Gaaaah I left it behind on a plane somewhere Should have attached a toxic warning label.