Behind the Scenes at the Museum

(Fiction; Picador, 1995)


“I exist!” Ruby Lennox gleefully exclaims in the first line of the comic, beautiful Behind the Scenes at the Museum. “I exist!” she crows, producing a uniquely joyful scene of conception and a delightful, embryonic narrator. Thirty pages later, Ruby will be born, in historic York, England. Sixty pages later, Elizabeth II will be crowned queen. One hundred and fifty pages later, Ruby’s golden, angry sister will die, and three hundred pages after that, Ruby will meet her future husband, who smells of olives and lemons. In between chapters, readers are tossed stories—family “Footnotes”—of Lennox grandmothers in their honeymoon beds, Lennox uncles during Zeppelin raids, and Lennox mothers trying on their first grown-up frocks.

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