Anyway, on to my ongoing Top Ten List of songs and books of 2016. Today, lets take a look at my #3's
|Jack Savoretti - I'm Yours|
"What a beautiful, wonderful, funny, sad, lovely novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum is. The novel is the debut for Kate Atkinson. I'd already read a couple of her Jackson Brodie mysteries and enjoyed them very much. While this novel displayed the wonderful story - telling abilities she displayed in the other novels, it is so different.
Basically it is the history of a family, as told by Ruby Lennox. It follows Ruby and her sisters as they grow up in York, England but also tracks back to her descendants; her mother, Bunty, Bunty's parents and grand-parents and Ruby's siblings. That's the story at its simplest.
Atkinson tells it so wonderfully, filling each page with beautifully crafted scenes and events. Some are so funny, the family road trip to Scotland. Some are desperately sad, Edmund's last minutes in a bomber over Germany. You feel each and every little story within the larger context of Ruby's growing up. After each couple of chapters, there are footnotes, where we meet the descendants, Edmund, Lillian, Lawrence.
I found myself asking my wife, who is from England, what various references were, TV shows that Ruby watched, toys they played with, etc. Not crucial to enjoying the story, but still nice to add that additional texture. It's a family with secrets, as I imagine most families have, and they all tie together by the end. There are neat little path crossings of characters throughout the story and by the end, some revelations that will complete the whole story.
I found myself running through the whole gamut of emotions, anger at times, sadness, happiness. I found myself chuckling at bits and having to read those portions to the missus. At the end, even as it wound up satisfactorily, I felt an ache in my heart and had to get a big hug.
Wonderful story of family history, in the same vein as some of my other favourites, like The Poisonwood Bible, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, To Kill a Mockingbird and The World According to Garp. So glad I read it finally. I will continue reading the Jackson Brodie mysteries and her other standalone books. Atkinson is a great author."
It was definitely a pleasure to read. So two more days until Christmas and two more Selections as we wind down 2016.