Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

1995 Costa Winner

Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson


Publisher: Black Swan

Length: 382 pages

About: The failed dreams of women

Style: 1st person

Where: England

When: 1810-1990



Publisher’s synopsis:

Ruby Lennox begins narrating her own life at the moment of her conception, and from there takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of a girl determined to learn more about her family and the secrets it keeps.





I exist! Iam conceived to the chimes of midnight on the clock on the mantelpiece in the room across the hall. The clock once belonged to my great-grandmother ( a woman called Alice) and its tired chime counts me into this world. I'm begun on the first stroke and finished on the last when my father rolls off my mother and is plunged into a dreamless sleep, thanks to the five pints of John Smith's best bitter he has drunk in the Punch Bowl.






Remarkable...full of the grimness, grit, and grandeur of Yorkshire of the funniest books to come out of Britain in years.

The New York Times Book Review


Not so good

The way the book darts around between time zones (not in chronological order ) is confusing and breaks the flow of the narrative. But the descriptions of incidents and characters are rewarding and on a few occasions very amusing - overall it is worth persevering.

Jane Dale Readers' Group (Walsden) 19th January 2000


About the author

She was born in York in 1951, and studied English Literature at the University of Dundee, gaining her Masters Degree in 1974. She subsequently studied for a doctorate in American Literature. She has often spoken publicly about the fact that she failed at the viva (oral examination) stage. After leaving university, she took on a variety of jobs from home help to legal secretary and teacher. She lived in Whitby, North Yorkshire, for a time, but now lives in Edinburgh.


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2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

Extract from New York Times to view full article...

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