Good evening all!
Today I will be reviewing Sarah Winman’s new book Tin Man.
This is almost a love story.
Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.
But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?
This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.
Official blurb for Tin Man
I was super excited to get my hands on a copy of Sarah Winman’s new book. After the success of her last novel, When God was a Rabbit, I couldn’t wait to see what the hype surrounding Tin Man was about. This is Winman’s third book, and personally, it’s my favourite of her works.
The story starts off with a simple painting. You might know it- do you recall Van Gogh’s Sunflower painting? Well, Dora wins it (well, a copy) in a raffle, and in doing so, defies her husband (he wanted the whisky). This one act of empowerment sets the mood for the whole story – bittersweet, but real.
Vincent Van Gogh, Sunflowers Image courtesy of The National Gallery
I like the tagline for this book, “This is almost a love story”. I couldn’t have said it better myself. After the first chapter, the story then splits in two – the first half from Ellis, and the second from Michael. For a book that has its first few pages full of glorious sunflowers, be warned; this story will reach into your body and rip out your heart without hesitation. This emotional rollercoaster of a plot is beautifully put together and, although full of melancholy, creates a long-lasting impression on the reader.
I want to say that this book isn’t necessarily sad, it just has some sad themes and events that take a toll on the characters. It’s the characters themselves that make this story. Both Ellis and Michael are very interesting, but in different ways. They are elegantly described but the author doesn’t force their perception of them on the reader. Instead, it’s as if you are watching the characters through frosted glass – enough to see the bigger picture, but still room for the reader to make their minds up themselves about them. The love between characters is refreshing and daring. Friendship, romance, and true love. Are they so different after all?
I would recommend this colourful little novel to anyone who likes thought-provoking stories with unique yet prominent themes. Winman isn’t afraid of taking the bull by the horns when it comes to writing, and her bold style pays off. At 207 pages, Tin Man is what I’d describe as a wonderful afternoon read; a little insight into intriguing characters reminding yourself that it only takes a second for your life to change forever. What do you regret? What could have been? What do you hope for the future?
To sum up, I would say Tin Man is brave, fearless, and raw.
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Thank you to Sarah Winman the author, Headline Publishing, Tinder Press, and Georgina Moore for my copy of Tin Man. Happy reading! Lx