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The Museum of Cathy by Anna Stothard
  

The Museum of Cathy

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This latest novel from the acclaimed author of the Orange-longlisted The Pink Hotel is an exploration of memories, consequence and the difficulties of living with the past. Cathy is a curator of natural history in Berlin. She is engaged, about to receive an award for her work and beginning to feel that she has finally escaped her past, a past that she keeps locked away within her own museum of curiosities. Yet on the day she is due to receive her award she receives a gift that tells her that a shadow that haunts her memories has resurfaced to claim back what he feels belongs to him.

I was completely swept away with this story. Stothard’s technique allows us to watch events unfold with regular insights into Cathy’s past that slowly reveal the reality of what she has been hiding from with a steadily rising sense of foreboding. I found the exploration of characters sensitively handled and yet provided enough suspense and contained a level of sinister tension that had me guessing just what each one may be capable of. This is exquisite, beautifully written prose and the use of the museum as a theme throughout with setting, a means of storytelling and metaphor, is quite brilliantly executed. It is personal, it is universal and it is something that lives within each of us and the memories we hold. Cathy’s story moved me and I so wanted her to find the escape she desperately needed. Highly recommended. ~ Shelley Fallows

November 2016 Book of the Month.

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. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Tracey Thomas - 'The Museum Of Cathy gripped me from the opening sentence, an engaging atmospheric book that was a joy to read...I would highly recommend this book, a descriptive masterpiece that keeps hold of you and doesn't let go even when you have finished.'
  • Emily Wright - 'This dark, compellingly claustrophobic novel pays homage to the power of memories and how their influence has the ability to shape, and at times control, our lives.'
  • Lorraine Blencoe - 'Wow! I think this is the most intense and personal book I have read for a while...A superb read.'
  • Suzanne Beney - 'The Museum of Cathy is probably the best book I've read this year. An atmospheric story that pulls you in to its world. You won't want to put it down.'
  • Phylippa Smithson - 'This story left me troubled by the realisation that relationships – family, partners – can wreck havoc on even the strongest characters.  Powerful and engaging...this really is a remarkable read.'
  • Richard Wright - 'a novel of exquisite perspective, her mastery of prose cannot be denied.'
  • Chloe Hill - 'It reads like a classic and the prose is stunning.'

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Synopsis

The Museum of Cathy by Anna Stothard

From the author of the Orange Prize long-listed, The Pink Hotel Cathy is a young woman who escapes her feral childhood in a rundown chalet on the East coast of England to become a curator of natural history in Berlin. Although seemingly liberated from her destructive past, she commemorates her most significant memories and love affairs - one savage, one innocent, one full of potential - in a collection of objects that form a bizarre museum of her life. When an old lover turns up at a masked party at Berlin's natural history museum and events take a terrifying turn, Cathy must confront their shared secrets in order to protect her future. This is an exquisitely crafted, rare and original work.

Reviews

The Museum of Cathy is a gripping and stylish novel. Stothard's lacko fo formal innovaton is more than compensated for by its emotional punch, which both staggers the reader and had the potential to transform our understanding of violent relationships. -- Alice Hiller * The Times Literary Supplement * Stothard steers her narrative forward steadily and with great control, perhaps another aspect of this being a bulwark against all the frightening things in the world. This is a novel to be savoured, not least for its teeming parade of beasts: the text itself is a wunderkammer that makes us swoon with its surfeit of content. But, beyond that, it contains a wealth of emotional truth which is held out like a rope to rescue the drowning. The complex unfolding of the plot, like reverse origami, is beautifully done. We attempt to assert control over our lives by imposing order but, as Stothard shows, ultimately things need to be overturned so that we can breathe and grow. -- Jane Housham * The Guardian * The Museum of Cathy, from Orange Prize-shortlistee Anna Stothard can occasionally make for uncomfortable reading as a raw, intricate look into a young woman's beautiful, broken world. At times the reader can feel like a human pinball, being fired through the erratic psyche of the three main characters, stuck in their innermost thoughts in desperate need of fresh air and a faster pace. -- Amy Kean * Disclaimer Magazine * If this sounds like a cheap thriller, it's anything but - Stothard's exquisite prose sees to that. Instead, it's a glitteringly lyrical portrait of an emotionally remote young woman who, at the age of ten, was involved in a tragedy that has indelibly scarred her and who, for most of her life, has taken more solace in collecting random objects than she has in people ... a gripping slow-burner which finds deep metaphorical resonance in museums and the natural world for its themes of memory and rebirth. -- Claire Allfree * The Daily Mail * I was completely swept away with this story. Stothard's technique allows us to watch events unfold with regular insights into Cathy's past that slowly reveal the reality of what she has been hiding from with a steadily rising sense of foreboding. I found the exploration of characters sensitively handled and yet provided enough suspense and contained a level of sinister tension that had me guessing just what each one may be capable of. This is exquisite, beautifully written prose and the use of the museum as a theme throughout with setting, a means of storytelling and metaphor, is quite brilliantly executed. It is personal, it is universal and it is something that lives within each of us and the memories we hold. Cathy's story moved me and I so wanted her to find the escape she desperately needed. Highly recommended -- Shelley Fallows * Lovereading.com *


About the Author

Anna Stothard

Anna Stothard was born in London. She has written weekly columns in the Observer and the Sunday Telegraph, among other freelance journalism. Her first novel, Isabel and Rocco, was published in 2004. She did her undergraduate degree at Oxford, then moved to Los Angeles where she was awarded a screenwriting scholarship with the Masters programme at the American Film Institute. While studying she lived in a surreal mock-German castle in Little Armenia and worked on film sets for two years and on finishing her MA she returned to London. She lives in Hampstead, London.

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Book Info

Publication date

4th November 2016

Author

Anna Stothard

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Author's Website

www.annastothard.com/
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Publisher

Salt Publishing

Format

Paperback
208 pages

Categories

Literary Fiction
Books of the Month
Reading Groups
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

ISBN

9781784630829

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