Monday, 14 August 2017

Tin Man - Sarah Winman

This is a beautiful, poignant book. And that’s my review. Thank you for reading it. And I hope you get hold of this book and enjoy it as much as I did. 

Nah, not really. I can’t get away with that can I? But this book has made me realise that I’m maybe more of a reader than a reviewer! And it made me wonder what people want from a book review. Do I wax lyrical about plot, character, narrative, quality of writing? Sometimes I’m reading a book that is so good I forget all about such things and just let the book envelope me and carry me along with it and nothing else seems to matter. 

This book struck such a chord with me. When I was a child my mother had a painting in the dining room. Where she got it I don’t know, it certainly wasn’t won in a raffle and it wasn’t even by a recognised artist. It was a picture of some daffodils in a Sylvac type urn on a highly polished table where you could see the reflection of New York style buildings in the background. One daffodil has fallen from the vase and lays on the table. The daffodils are a vibrant yellow. I never discussed with my mother what she saw in it but it must have been something for it remained on the wall for years. Then we moved house and I didn’t know where it had gone. Years later I found it in her attic after she died, covered in an old sheet. So precious to her that she couldn’t throw it away. Now it hangs in my dining room. I look at it every day always seeing some kind of other life in it. Maybe that’s what my mother did.

This story covers a plethora of emotion but a leitmotiv throughout is painting, pictures, photos and words triggering memories and feelings. There is a wistfulness running thorough it that frequently moved me to tears. A story of love and friendship, of loss and longing and dealing with grief. And its not so much what happens but why it happens and how its described. The simplest of phrases and described tender gestures that just cause your eyes to leak like fountains. And its all done without sentiment, but simply, as it is, which somehow makes it all the more moving.

Is this a tale of extraordinary people? Or is it a tale of ordinary people who happened to find each other at exactly the right time?  But you cannot capture time and what follows is, in the words of kd lang, constant craving. 

I read When God Was a Rabbit and wondered whether such a laudable debut could be followed up and sustained. Yes, it can.

That’s my review. Thank you for reading it. And I hope you get hold of the book and enjoy it as much as I did. Oh, you will probably need tissues.

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