Sarah Winman's debut novel, When God Was a Rabbit, back in 2011. It was a unique first novel that I really enjoyed. Winman's latest is Tin Man - and it is a simply beautiful read - one that I absolutely recommend.
The cover is the perfect accompaniment to the story within. The sunflowers are overlaid by a subtle metallic gold leaf that is only visible when the cover catches the light.
Tin Man opens with a prologue that ties that cover to the story within. And I was hooked immediately. In 1952 Dora wins the painting in a raffle.
"The painting was as conspicuous as a newly installed window, but one that looked out onto a life of color and imagination, far away from the grey factory dawn and in stark contrast to the brown curtains and brown carpet, both chosen by a man to hide the dirt."
We jump forward to 1996 and meet Ellis - Dora's son. Ellis has suffered much loss in his life - his mother, his wife, his best friend Michael and the direction he hoped his life would have taken. My heart ached for Ellis - his sadness and loss is raw and palpable. Winman's prose are so powerful and compelling. The reader is drawn into Ellis's life as he remembers, revisits and relives his life as he slowly allows himself to grieve.
And through those remembrances, we learn more about Michael. From the flyleaf...."This is almost a love story. But it's not as simple as that." Michael is also given a voice with part two. What Ellis has recounted is told from Michael's view, as he too chronicles his life. And it is just as poignant, if not more.
Absolutely recommended. Winman's words will move you to tears.... Read an excerpt of Tin Man.
While I'm not sure of the origins of the title, my thinking is it is from L. Frank Baum's The Wizard of Oz. “A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others” - The Tin Woodman.
Recommended for fans of Rachel Joyce who says..."A beautiful book - pared back and unsentimental, assured, full of warmth, and told with a kind of tenderness that makes you ache."