So Many Ways to BeginBook - 2007
The curator of a local history museum, David Carter cannot help but wish for more--that his wife would still be the ambitious and sparkling Scottish girl he once found so irresistible and that his beloved Aunt Julia was not lost in a fog of senility, in a novel of family, memory, and self-discovery.
In this potent examination of family and memory, Jon McGregor charts one man's voyage of self-discovery. Like Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, So Many Ways to Begin is rich in the intimate details that shape a life, the subtle strain that defines human relationships, and the personal history that forms identity. David Carter, the novel's protagonist, takes a keen interest in history as a boy. Encouraged by his doting Aunt Julia, he begins collecting the things that tell his story: a birth certificate, school report cards, annotated cinema and train tickets. After finishing school, he finds the perfect job for his lifetime obsession—curator at a local history museum. His professional and romantic lives take shape as his beloved aunt and mentor's unravels. Lost in a fog of senility, Julia lets slip that David had been adopted. Over the course of the next decades, as David and his wife Eleanor live out their lives—struggling through early marriage, professional disappointments, the birth of their daughter, Eleanor's depression, and an affair that ends badly— David attempts to physically piece together his past, finding meaning and connection where he least expects it.
Blackwell North Amer
David Carter is an obsessive collector and the curator of a local history museum. In addition to archiving the community, he has kept an archive of his own life since he was a young boy, collecting sundry items that tell his story: birth certificate, school report cards, annotated cinema and train tickets.
David has tidy ideas about personal history; it can be cataloged and contained in boxes, devoid of mess and emotion. Or so he thinks ... until one day an addled old aunt exposes a long-buried family secret, forcing David to consider the possibility that his whole life has been constructed around a lie and all the artifacts he has collected don't add up to the truth at all.
In fits and starts David's world begins to unravel. Struggling to make sense of his past through his archive of photos, letters, and artifacts, David is driven forward, across wartime London and postwar Coventry, rural Ireland, and Aberdeen, Scotland, in a search for meaning and truth.
The curator of a local history museum, David Carter cannot help but wish for more: that his wife would still be the ambitious and sparkling Scottish girl he once found so irresistible and that his beloved Aunt Julia was not lost in a fog of senility, in a novel of family, memory, and self-discovery. By the accliamed author of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. 25,000 first printing.