Category: Fiction / General
Publisher: Transworld Publishers Ltd
Publication date: 3 January 1998
Number of pages: 496
Prizes: Winner of Whitbread Book Awards: Book of the Year 1995.
Winner of Whitbread Book Awards: First Novel Category 1995.
Winner of Whitbread Prize (First Novel) 1995.
Ruby Lennox was conceived grudgingly by Bunty and born while her father, George, was in the Dog and Hare in Doncaster telling a woman in an emerald dress and a D-cup that he wasn't married. Bunty had never wanted to marry George, but here she was, stuck in a flat above the pet shop in an ancient street beneath York Minster, with sensible and sardonic Patrica aged five, greedy cross-patch Gillian who refused to be ignored, and Ruby...Ruby tells the story of The Family, from the day at the end of the nineteenth century when a travelling French photographer catches frail beautiful Alice and her children, like flowers in amber, to the startling, witty, and memorable events of Ruby's own life.
Ruby, the narrator, tells us about her Yorkshire childhood, starting within her mother's birth canal, waiting to be born. Interwoven into her childhood - full of bizarre events, as seen by Ruby (but probably nobody else) - are historical 'footnote' sections about Ruby's forebears, which work beautifully. Ruby's delivery is fast and furious, an overflowing cornucopia of stories, characters, dramatic events and adolescent angst - funny, vivid, original, with a neat surprise tucked into the end. Winner of the 1995 Whitbread Prize. (Kirkus UK)
What the papers say:
"Delivers its jokes and its tragedies as efficiently as Dickens...outrageously funny on almost every page...will dazzle readers for years to come." -- Hilary Mantel London Review of Books "'A debut novel of astonishing confidence and skill...Acutely observant, overflowing with good jokes, it is the work of an author who loves her characters and sets them playing with gleeful energy'" Spectator "'An astounding book...without doubt one of the finest novels I have read for years'" The Times "'Little short of a masterpiece...Fizzing with wit and energy, Kate Atkinson's hilarious novel made me laugh and cry'" Daily Mail "'A blinding debut from a Yorkshire mother-of-two who could be Alan Bennett's baby sister...straight-up simplicity veils the depth, poignancy and poetry of her story'" Time Out
Kate Atkinson won the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year prize with her first novel, Behind the Scenes at the Museum, and has been a critically acclaimed international author ever since. Her bestselling novels featuring the former police detective Jackson Brodie, Case Histories, One Good Turn, When Will There Be Good News? and Started Early, Took My Dog, have been adapted into a successful BBC TV series starring Jason Isaacs. She was appointed MBE in the 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours List.
In Stock: 32 copies