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Tin Man by Sarah Winman
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Tin Man

by Sarah Winman

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4875533,872 (4.02)42
"Shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award "This is an astoundingly beautiful book. It drips with tenderness. It breaks your heart and warms it all at once."--Matt Haig, author of How to Stop Time From internationally bestselling author Sarah Winman comes an unforgettable and heartbreaking novel celebrating love in all its forms, and the little moments that make up the life of one man. This is almost a love story. But it's not as simple as that. Ellis and Michael are twelve-year-old boys 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? With beautiful prose and characters that are so real they jump off the page, Tin Man is a love letter to human kindness and friendship, and to loss and living"--… (more)

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» See also 42 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
I'm afraid I don't remember too much about this one, having let it set too long between finishing and reviewing. But that tells you something itself, I suppose. There's two men who are best friends and a bit more and the wife of one of them who is really something more to each of them. And it explores that relationship and the time (it starts in the fifties) and how it shaped them. *shruggy man* I know that as I was reading it I was wishing I was liking it better. ( )
  lycomayflower | Feb 10, 2020 |
Spanning several decades from the 1960s to the mid 1990s, Tin Man by Sarah Winman is a bittersweet novel of friendship and love.

The first part of this engaging, yet short novel, is from Ellis Judd's point of view. Ellis is still mourning the loss of his beloved wife Annie whom he deeply loved. His mother's death when he was a teen altered his life's path when his domineering and abusive father stifled Ellis's artistic endeavors. The only bright spot in his life until Ellis met Annie is his close friendship with Michael Wright. If the young men had grown up during a more enlightened time period, would their friendship have gone down a different road?

The second part of the novel is from Michael's perspective and it is much more emotionally compelling. Michael is a sensitive man who drifted away from Ellis after his marriage to Annie. He moved to London for his writing career where he never quite found anyone who meant as much to him as Ellis. His life takes somewhat tragic turn as he nurses a former lover through a fatal illness. Afterwards, Michael travels to the French countryside where he slowly heals and after his return to London, he reconnects with Annie and Ellis.

Tin Man by Sarah Winman is a beautifully written novel that is deeply affecting. Michael's part of the story is much more meaningful and heartrending than Ellis's since it takes readers through the harrowing early years of a disease that for far too long was a death sentence. Ellis is a sympathetic protagonist and it is quite gratifying to watch him grow and make some much needed changes to his life. An incredibly heartfelt yet poignant story that packs a powerful emotional punch. ( )
  kbranfield | Feb 3, 2020 |
And Ellis remembered thinking he would never meet anyone like him again, and in that acknowledgment, he knew, was love. He could see his mother concentrating on Michael’s words, how enraptured she was. And when he stopped, she bent down and kissed him on the head and said, Thank you. Because everything she held on to and everything she believed in came together in that unexpected moment. The simple belief that men and boys were capable of beautiful things.

What a beautiful book this is. Ellis and Michael meet when they are twelve years old, both reeling from hardship at home. They become inseparable and eventually their relationship turns into something more, something that cannot be fully realized, and eventually their lives move on independently. But neither Ellis nor Michael ever truly let go of this first love. Sections narrated by each man piece together a profoundly moving story of love, friendship, the power of art, and the staggering impact of loss. Exquisitely written, tissues required.

And I wonder what the sound of a heart breaking might be. And I think it might be quiet, unperceptively so, and not dramatic at all. Like the sound of an exhausted swallow falling gently to earth. ( )
1 vote lauralkeet | Jan 14, 2020 |
We shared a cigarette, and in between us was a parched landscape strewn with the bones of abandoned plans only we once knew about." (Page 128)

I knew nothing about this book. If I had I may not have read it and that would've been my loss. Short and oh so bittersweet.

Two boys, twelve years old, Ellis and Michael. One drawn to art the other to poetry and writing; both drawn to each other. A painting of a field of sunflowers made famous by Vincent Van Gogh is won in a raffle by a pregnant woman in the opening pages of the book over the protests of her apparently abusive husband, who wants her to select the whiskey instead. This would've been Ellis' mother in 1950.

From there the book moves back and forth in time as Michael and Ellis relate the stories of their lives. They could've been lovers but that really wasn't meant to be. Because Annie is there too. So.....

A most unusual story about friendship, love, heartache, sadness, tragedy and, somehow, peace. Spare, evocative, lovely prose throughout that took my breath away. Outstanding fiction that seemed so very real. ( )
3 vote brenzi | Jan 11, 2020 |
Well written and poignant ( )
  karenshann | Dec 31, 2019 |
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Epigraph
'I already feel that it has done me good to go South,
the better to see the North'

Vincent Van Gogh in a letter to his brother Theo,
May 1890
Dedication
For Robert Caskie
and for
Patsy
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All Dora Judd ever told anyone about that night, three weeks before Christmas, was that she won the painting in a raffle.
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