By Kate Atkinson
Nationwide Bestseller Winner of the Whitbread ebook of the Year Kate Atkinson's extraordinary debut novel is a deeply relocating tale of kinfolk heartbreak and happiness. Ruby Lennox starts narrating her existence in the interim of notion, and from there takes us on a whirlwind travel of the 20 th century as noticeable in the course of the eyes of an English woman decided to benefit approximately her kin and its secrets and techniques.
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Not much of a future as it turned out, as she gets run over by a pale blue Hillman Husky in 1959 but how are any of us to know this? ) Bunty (our mother, the flower of English woman-hood) is irritated by the attention of Bert and Alf. ) Why don’t they just cut the bloody grass, she thinks, disguising her thoughts with a bright, artificial smile. Time to go! Bunty has had enough of all this idleness and we need to go shopping in other people’s shops. She prepares for a scene with Gillian, for scene with Gillian there will surely be.
Acquaintance or not, Walter is hard to keep at arm’s length, as Bunty has learnt to her cost on the couple of occasions he has cornered her behind the sausage-machine in the back of his shop. George and Walter do each other ‘favours’ – Walter is doing one now, in full view of the shop, performing a sleight-of-hand with the steak that will give Bunty far more than she’s due on her ration coupon. Walter also has a reputation as a ladies’ man so Bunty isn’t at all happy about George keeping company with him.
More than once in a day would be unnatural. She heads for the bathroom where the harsh overhead light ricochets off the black-and-white tiles and the chrome fittings and hits Bunty’s morning skin in the mirror, making ghastly pools and shadows. One minute she looks like a skull, the next like her own mother. She can’t make up her mind which is worse. She cleans her teeth with some vigour to dispatch the taste of George’s tobacco-fumed moustache and then – in order to keep up appearances (an important concept for Bunty, although she’s not exactly sure who it is that she’s keeping them up for) – she paints on a shapely ruby-red smile and grins at the mirror, her lips retracted, to check for mis-hit lipstick on her teeth.
Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson