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The Museum of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister

The Museum of Things Left Behind

Family Drama   Literary Fiction   Relationship Stories   eBook Favourites   
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Escape into this hugely enjoyable, big-hearted and beautifully written debut novel, set in Vallerosa, an imaginary tea-producing, tiny European country tucked between Italy and Austria, has its election due. The President, Segio, stands hesitantly in his strong father’s shoes. The Government consists of twelve ministers whose positions have been passed from father to son for centuries for this is an ‘Elective’ Dictatorship! A letter arrives requesting a visit from the Duke of Edinburgh. Or does it? Perhaps the President’s English is not perfect. Taking advantage of this auspicious occasion the country prepares. What ensues is a pure delight. With echoes of a Peter Sellers or Peter Ustinov film, this is good old-fashioned fun. A tad wordy, a tad long-winded setting the scene but once into the style, the humour, satire, good intentions, misunderstandings and pure farce of the tale rip through the pages. Huge fun. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

One of our Books of the Year 2015.

If you like Seni Glaister you might also like to read books by Louis de Bernieres, Alexander McCall Smith and Laura Esquivel.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. Click here to read the full reviews.

  • Elisabeth Thomas - 'The Museum of Things Left Behind is a heart warming story which makes the reader ask ourselves what modern life has brought us and what have we lost because of globalisation and capitalism.'
  • Joanne Baird - 'The book reminded me of the gentle, comforting style of Alexander McCall Smith's novels, with very likeable, quirky characters. It was very entertaining and I really enjoyed it.'
  • Edel Waugh - '...past hurts and challenges, politics and love all come together to make this a gorgeous story filled with passion about a place that everyone who lives here loves.'
  • Nicola Foster - 'Though the journey in getting there, for me at least, was something of a slow one, Vallerosa was ultimately worth the ride and I’m glad I had the opportunity to experience this memorable debut.'
  • Sue Broom - 'A whimsical but earnest tale, there are many questions here about how to nurture happy lives in modern times.'
  • Melanie Chadwick - 'This book was a delight from start to finish.'
  • Lynne Morgan - 'Clever, witty and quirky too, this is a most unusual story about a most unusual place.'
  • Jan Kirkcaldy - 'A bit involved but I’m glad I read it.'
  • Sarah Hamid - 'A charming, easy-to-read novel which is full of gentle humour but also home truths that will make you nod sagely in agreement. Perfect escapism, an exceptional bed-time or beach read.'
  • Linda Amos - 'A book to make you smile. Full of hope, secrets, and a deceit which is a catalyst for change. Why would anyone have a museum dedicated to stuff left behind? Where have all the women gone?'
  • Cathy Small - 'The story took a while to get hooked into but continue to the end because you can see how one person, if they are the right person, can influence many lives for the better.'
  • Xanthe Waite - 'This is a story about an idyllic place - Vallerosa, and the people who live there. It's a witty and charming read.'
  • Alison Layland - 'An enjoyable read portraying a fascinating concept...I found myself with plenty to think about and wanting to find out how the various situations were resolved.'
  • Zarina - 'The quirky story within the pages is a fascinating and charming one.'
  • Judith Smith - 'A beautiful whimsical read.'
  • Holly Kilminster - 'This book was quirky, clever and an absolute delight from start to finish. I recommend it highly!'


The Museum of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister

Escape into the warmth and charm of this big-hearted modern fable - and discover a European country you've never heard of. Nestling in the picturesque mountains between Italy and Austria is the beautiful but isolated country of Vallerosa, a land of stopped clocks, full employment, pungent tea, patriotism, rival cafes and a slower way of life. The world has finally started to take notice of this hidden gem, and when a letter arrives, announcing the imminent arrival of a Very Important Person, the Vallerosans hurry to make preparations for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show off their country. But the visitor is not quite what they had in mind ...


'A dream of a book'
Polly Vernon, GRAZIA

'Funny, wise and charming'

'Fans of Marina Lewycka will enjoy this debut ... As sweet as ice-cream'

'A witty, feel-good read'

'Sunny, charming, and as playful as Stella Gibbons or EF Benson, The Museum of Things Left Behind took me on holiday to the tiny imaginary country of Vallerosa, and returned me with the wonderful feeling of having spent time with an uplifting friend' Laline Paull, author of THE BEES

About the Author

Seni Glaister

Seni Glaister has worked in bookselling since 1988. The mother of four children, she uses her spare time (when she is not working or reading) to raise pigs, confide in her cattle, climb mountains, make wine and write. She has recently led a management buy out of The Book People, one of the UK's favourite booksellers and she is currently planning a long cold walk to the South Pole.

Below is a Q&A with this author.

What’s it about: Full of wisdom, humour and light, The Museum of Things Left Behind is a heart-warming fable for our times that asks us to consider what we have lost and what we have gained in modern life. A book about bureaucracy, religion and the people that really get things done, it is above all else a hymn to the inconstancy of time and the pivotal importance of a good cup of tea.

Why we’re excited: When The Museum of Things Left Behind first came into the office, it was submitted anonymously. That it was snapped up by editorial director Clare Reihill instantly is a testament to its magnificence, its instant pull, and the confidence that Seni Glaister knows how to tell a story.

What she’s reading: ‘2015 is a great year for readers! I’ve recently finished The Mirror World of Melody Black by Gavin Extence and A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman. I’ve just started Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant. I’m very happy.’

What she’s listening to: ‘Radio 4, 5 days a week. If I didn’t listen to Radio 4 I’d know nothing about the world at all as I don’t watch TV or buy a newspaper. I know absolutely nothing about the world at the weekends so Monday mornings often deliver quite a punch.’

What she’s watching: ‘Do you mean television? Nothing. Film? Not nearly enough.’

Her favourite word: ‘Bleb – because somebody cared enough to name it.’

Her favourite song: ‘No such thing, it depends entirely on the moment.’

Living person she most admires: ‘My father’

The book she wishes she’d written: ‘A Prayer for Owen Meany’

The book that everyone should read: ‘I don’t think I believe in the one book fits all theory but Caroline by Cornelis Medvei is a perfect little book.’

The book you’d like republished: ‘The Semi-attached Couple and The Semi Detached House by Emily Eden (but not necessarily in one volume)’

Her writing ritual: ‘I’m actually a very fast writer, providing I’ve allowed myself plenty of time to think beforehand. So I make space in my head by walking or climbing and by the time I come to write I can comfortably get 5,000 words down in a sitting. I then edit at leisure which I do on a paragraph by paragraph basis – but not necessarily in sequence.’

The best advice she’s ever received: ‘I’ve received a great deal of good advice over the years but I tend to play closest attention to advice from strangers or unsolicited advice from unlikely sources. However, the most profound advice I’ve received recently was from my then 14 year old daughter who told me “Mum. I’m going to watch how you treat your mother very carefully over the next few years. However you treat her, will be how I treat you when I’m your age.” I have taken heed.’

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Book Info

Publication date

16th June 2016


Seni Glaister

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Fourth Estate Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers


432 pages


Family Drama
Literary Fiction
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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