Book Review

Print More

Meet Me at The Museum Novel by Anne Youngson Published 2018, 288 pages

Every reader, from time to time, needs an uplifting read–a book that is well written and full of meaning, but not violent or mournful or heavy in any way. Such a book is Meet Me at the Museum. It takes place simultaneous in East Anglia and in a town in Denmark. Its two main characters have never met in person, but through a series of letters they become dear friends. The action in the book is recorded through the letters.

Tina Hopgood is a farm wife. As a young girl she was introduced to the existence of the prehistoric remains of the so-named Tollund Man, whose remains were found in a peat bog in Denmark. As an aside, this part of the book is based on fact; there is such a relic, in a museum in Denmark. The second main character is a scholarly archaeologist working in the museum where the Tollund Man is housed. Tina writes to the museum to ask about a possible visit to see the character she has become obsessed with, and whether it is possible that she could somehow be related to him through various Danish expeditions to early England.

Her letter is forwarded to Professor Anders Larsen, the curator of the museum, who writes back. The letters continue through many months, perhaps a few years, revealing each character’s domestic situation, expressed through words that gradually assume more depth and even a kind of literary intimacy. The connection helps Tina explore her unhappy marriage and Anders to understand his late wife’s mental illness and suicide. The gentleness and tact of the correspondence, as well as its wisdom and truth-seeking, are compelling; the two come to know one another as neither has known anyone before.

Many ups and downs of each life is revealed: how Tina came to marry a man she does not love and the isolation of a rugged farm life with him; and the pain suffered by Anders as he watches his wife drift away from the family. Finally, there is a denouement, though no distinct resolution. The reader suspects, however, that the two will ultimately meet and that there will someday be a happy ending.

Comments are closed.