Thursday, August 9, 2018

Meet Me At the Museum by Anne Youngson

Anne Youngson's debut is a charming epistolary novel about strangers who discover themselves through letter writing. Tina's one fatal mistake lead to a life as a farmer's wife, and now that her best friend has died she is struggling to find purpose and meaning.

Tina writes to Prof. Glob about the Tollund Man, which she longs to see for herself. She learns that the Professor has died when Anders, a museum curator, responds. They continue to write to each other and a friendship grows. As they share their ideas, losses, and disappointments, the reader observes a meeting of minds and hearts blossoming.

Meet Me at the Museum was inspired by the Tollund Man, the prehistoric preserved body which in 1952 was discovered in a Danish bog. Professor P. V. Glob excavated the remains and wrote the book The Bog People, which I remember reading in the early 1970s. In 1970 the poet Seamus Heaney wrote the poem The Tollund Man. Youngson was haunted by the poem and the image of the Tollund Man, intrigued by the mystery of the man's life and death.
The Tollund Man
This quiet novel, in which nothing much happens, about people who are not in themselves anyone in particular, will not engage readers who prefer a plot line that catapults you into a page-turning frenzy. It was a perfect read as I sat under the apple trees on my patio, the robins splashing in the bird bath and the bees flocking to the flowering oregano in the herb garden. Complications do arise in the character's lives and decisions must be made. But the book is about Tina's and Ander's self-analysis and evolving thoughts on matters and ideas and choices and life. It is the story of a slowly blossoming relationship built on an open exchange of ideas, communicating about their internal and external growth. They share lessons they have learned.

Such as Tina's observation that when raspberry picking, you go down the row and select all the ripe berries, then turn around and note all the ones you missed because you only saw one side of the bush.

Can people go back and find the berries they missed on the first walk through life?

That is what the novel is about.

I received a free ARC from the publisher. My review is fair and unbiased.

Meet Me At the Museum
by Anne Youngson
Flatiron Books
Publication August 7, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-250-29516-3

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