‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’ is Kate Atkinson’s debut novel first published in 1995 and narrated by Ruby Lennox born in 1952 to a middle-class family who live above a pet shop in York. The plot alternates between chapters recounting significant events in Ruby’s childhood during the 1950s and 1960s and extended “footnotes” about the earlier generations of her family told in non-chronological order. Most significantly, the story of what happened to Ruby’s great-grandmother Alice has implications for the whole family for many years to come. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Kate Atkinson
This year’s Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist was announced today. The twenty novels are:A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett Ruby by Cynthia Bond The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton Whispers Through a Megaphone by Rachel Elliott The Green Road by Anne Enright The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy The Anatomist’s Dream by Clio Gray At Hawthorn Time by Melissa Harrison Pleasantville by Attica Locke The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie Girl at War by Sara Nović The House at the Edge of the World by Julia Rochester The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
Kate Atkinson’s previous novel Life After Life published in 2013 told the story (or rather stories) of Ursula Todd who lives her life several times over in many variations with very different outcomes. Her latest book ‘A God in Ruins’ is a “companion novel” rather than a sequel which focuses on the life of Ursula’s younger brother Teddy. Spanning his life across the twentieth century and four generations of the Todd family, it draws on Teddy’s youth at Fox Corner, his wartime experiences as a pilot flying a Halifax bomber followed by later post-war years with his family. He marries his childhood sweetheart Nancy but has a strained relationship with their daughter Viola who shows little appreciation for the horrors Teddy witnessed when he served in Bomber Command. Continue reading
2014 was a fantastic year for new books by some of my favourite authors including ‘Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and his Years of Pilgrimage‘ by Haruki Murakami, ‘The Paying Guests‘ by Sarah Waters, ‘Us‘ by David Nicholls and ‘The Book of Strange New Things‘ by Michel Faber. 2015 is also shaping up to be a bumper year for long-awaited new novels from both established authors and debut novelists alike. Here are the ones to watch in 2015:
The Waterstones Book of the Year award shortlist was announced today. The nominated books are:
The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil by Stephen Collins
Maps by Aleksandra Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński
Love, Nina: Despatches of Family Life by Nina Stibbe
Stoner by John L. Williams Continue reading
I have just watched the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013 live stream broadcast on the Huffington Post website. In the build-up towards the big announcement when Miranda Richardson said that the judges were looking for originality, accessibility and excellence, I thought: “It’s got to be ‘Flight Behaviour’! Or ‘Bring Up the Bodies’! Or ‘Life After Life’! One of those three will definitely win it!”
Last night, I went to the Women’s Prize for Fiction Shortlist Readings event at the Southbank Centre in London and it was every bit as awesome as I hoped it would be.
Over the last couple of months, I have read five out of the six books on this year’s shortlist. In summary, ‘May We Be Forgiven’ by A.M. Homes was the most dysfunctional (i.e. my least favourite), ‘Flight Behaviour’ by Barbara Kingsolver was beautifully written, ‘Life After Life’ by Kate Atkinson had an intriguing concept which was handled very well, ‘NW’ by Zadie Smith had excellent dialogue and ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ by Hilary Mantel was an impressive interpretation of historical events. Sadly, I haven’t had a chance to read ‘Where’d You Go, Bernadette’ by Maria Semple yet but I will try and seek out a copy in the future.