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Meet Me at the Museum

A Novel
Narrated by: Helen Lloyd, Lars Knudsen
Length: 6 hrs and 29 mins
Categories: Fiction, Literary
4.5 out of 5 stars (191 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Anne Youngson's epistolary debut audiobook about a farmer's wife who begins writing letters to a museum curator and, as he writes back, gradually allows herself to find happiness and love again.  

In Denmark, professor Anders Larsen, an urbane man of facts, has lost his wife and his hopes for the future. On an isolated English farm, Tina Hopgood is trapped in a life she doesn’t remember choosing. Both believe their love stories are over.   

Brought together by a shared fascination with the Tollund Man, subject of Seamus Heaney’s famous poem, they begin writing letters to one another. And from their vastly different worlds, they find they have more in common than they could have imagined. As they open up to one another about their lives, an unexpected friendship blooms. But then Tina’s letters stop coming, and Anders is thrown into despair. How far are they willing to go to write a new story for themselves?  

©2018 Anne Yongson (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

"Tender, wise, and moving, Meet Me at the Museum is a novel to cherish." (John Boyne, New York Times best-selling author of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas)

"The charmer of the summer...A touching, hopeful story about about figuring out what matters and mustering the courage to make the necessary changes." — NPR  

"A moving tribute to friendship and love, to the courage of the ordinary, and to starting again." (Rachel Joyce, New York Times best-selling author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry)

What members say

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Regret and Sacrifice

This epistolary novel was made up of alternating letters exchanged between the two main characters. These letters provide the reader with partial glimpses or small windows into the individual lives of these two very different people . Gradually the reader comes to know bits and pieces and to witness the characters struggle as they try to break free from the bonds of duty and loneliness. While the writing and narration were both good, I never really felt I connected with or knew the characters. Further, listening as these people lived out their limited lives locked in cages of their own making was completely frustrating. The ancient bog man from the museum served as a heavy handed reminder and symbol of sacrifice. Is it true that we are doomed to repeat the same behaviors, choices and mistakes? I wonder. To me, this book was very sad and in the end terribly depressing.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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A Delightful Insight into Human Intimacy

First, I will reveal that I am neither sentimental nor entirely taken with most fiction. So I was not entirely thrilled to read this book when the title appeared on a friend's book club invititation. I decided to "read" it on Audible while doing some painting, just to fill up the quiet.

I was at first struck by the warmth of Lloyd's voice as compared to the perfunctory stoicism of Knudsen's. If I had not continued I might have jumped to the conclusion that his narration was not quite on par with hers; but I would have been wrong. The voices of the narrators, I came to believe, were perfectly chosen for these characters and lent an authenticity to the story that would have been missed had I simply read the book. Please understand that I love books and reading and by no means wish to indicate otherwise. I was simply struck by the superb vocal acting abilities of the pair.

The story, on the surface, was ordinary enough. An unlikely pair sharing stories about their everyday lives. No great intrigues, no build up of anticipation to make you keep reading. What compelled me to continue was the depth of understanding of the author of the cost of intimacy...the effort it takes to share of oneself and, therefore, be vulnerable to another. The characters' tales are somewhat common and, at times, even predictable. However, their willingness to share and learn from both their own and the other's experiences creates a sense of vibrancy and growth.

Youngson has imbued her characters with logic, optimism, hopefulness and so much more. The result leaving me feeling connected to and invested in this pair (and to my own feelings stirred by their words). So what, you might say, but I often feel alienated by so many modern characters whose flaws are over emphased so as to make them seem more human or by classic characters reduced to characatures or products of their time in order to serve the authors use of them. The characters in this book feel genuine, unique and relatable.

I have tried, to this point, not to give anything away but I would be remiss if I didn't point out that my favorite part is that we do not know what happens in the end. Even as I took pleasure in the development of the relationship between the two I was constantly dreading a tidy ending in which the they realize that they have fallen in love and now must be together at any cost. To my surprise and delight, this was not the ending I got.

From my perspective, the best part of the story was that the characters were unavailable for any kind of romantic entanglement, one mired in grief, the other committed to her marriage. The depth of their honesty and commitment to one another was made stronger by the fact that they could have been any one, from any time (like the Tollund Man himself) sacrificing themselves for the benefit of the other. I was relieved that Tina did not run to Anders in the end, as it would have been entirely out of character. This might lead one to believe that the character was jilted in the end but this was not the case. As she did throughout the book, Youngson ended the book with hope and possibility and the eternal search for new raspberries. I recommend that you read this book and perhaps discover a few of your own.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Captivating

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the narrators performance of it! The end brought tears to my eyes..so touching. I was doubtful at first that a story written through letters between two people would hold my attention. It didn’t take long for me to get pulled into the lives of Anders and Tina. It was so satisfying to experience the deepening of their relationship over time. I would love to read a sequel now!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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One of the best narrations I've ever heard

First off, let's talk about Helen Lloyd's and Lars Knudsen's reading of this book. It's incredible. You can't make me believe that these two didn't fall in love in real life.

This love story is told through the writing of letters, between a farmer's wife and an elderly widower who works at a museum. The pacing is gentle, and authentic. It truly feels voyeuristic, peeking into the lives of these two people as they introspect on their lives and where they are now in life, and what they still yearn for. Absolutely lovely.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Exquisite performances

The performances by Helen Lloyd and Lars Knudsen were excellent. I came to feel as though these were real people reading letters they’d written. It was a joyful experience, picking raspberries and watching fern fronds unfurl with Tina and Anders.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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thought and a bit of predictable

but still really enjoyable. I loved it. narrators were perfect capturing their characters, gender, personality and culture so well that I am pretty sure I know exactly what they look like.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Try for all the raspberries.

I loved how the characters wrote to each other. That is how it read. That was a nice change of pace. Their self reflection was smart & believable. I really enjoyed it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Audible books

I must start by saying I usually read actual books. But I have just found that there is a place for audible books when I am quilting. I have enjoyed listening to this book and the correspondence as the story. But I also recognize that I would have struggled if I had actually read the book because of the amount of dialog. The audio version really gave me a feeling for the characters and the events of their lives. I could feel the emotions as the story unfolded. It was beautifully written.

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  • kaylady
  • Morgan Hill, CA US
  • 02-08-19

Interesting format leaves you wanting more

Writing letters seems to be almost a lost art. These two get to know each quite well using this process.

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A rather boring correspondence

This story, written as an exchange of letters between two people in their '60's, had some nice moments, but unfortunately, much of their correspondence was really boring. The story is so predictable that even at only 6 1/2 hours, it felt interminable. The narration was good, though....

1 of 2 people found this review helpful