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Tin Man by Sarah Winman

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | General Fiction

By Swirl and Thread

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I picked up my copy of Tin Man without any idea of what lay ahead.

From the opening pages right through to the closing lines I was caught up in a tale that stole a little piece of my heart.

The book opens up in the 1950’s with Dora Judd. Her husband Leonard is a pig of a man, a drinker with a heavy hand. A night out at a Social in the local community centre results in Dora winning a prize, It’s a print. A copy of the famous painting by Van Gogh, Sunflowers. This was to become Dora’s refuge when life got tough…and it did…

The theme of yellow is first introduced to the reader with the striking cover of this novel and continues through to the Van Gogh painting and the beautiful lavender and sunflower fields of France. Dora Judd is a woman with unfulfilled dreams. As a reader your heart just goes out to her as her disappointment with the hand dealt to her is palpable off the pages.

‘Dora had seen the original on a school trip to London at the National Gallery’s Pimlico site. Fifteen years old she’d been full of the contradictions of that age. But when she entered the gallery room, the storm shutters around her heart flew open and she knew immediately that this was the life she wanted: Freedom, Possibility, Beauty.’

The year is 1996. Ellis Judd works in a car plant. He cycles to work and cycles home. His days are filled with memories and longing for a time past, memories that grab hold very often and become all consuming. His colleagues know when to leave him alone, when he is trapped in this place, a place he can never return to, no matter how hard he wishes for it.

Ellis lived a tough life from a young age, but it was during these difficult years that he met Michael. Michael came to live with a neighbour of Ellis’, a lovely warm and welcoming woman by the name of Mabel. Michael had his own hardship in life, but the pair soon became friends and found solace in each other’s company, as a very special relationship developed between them.

As the years past, the lives of Michael and Ellis took different paths.

Ellis meets Anne Cleaver, Annie, and instantly falls under her spell.

‘And then we didn’t speak. Do you remember? Do you remember how you stared at me? How unnerved you made me feel? And I asked you why you were staring at me? And you said, I’m wondering if I should take a chance on you…..And I said. Yes. Yes, is the only answer.’

Michael, knowing that two is now to become three, embraces Annie. A wonderful, magical relationship develops between all of them, but over time cracks appear and Michael chooses to go on his own journey.

Tin Man is the story of these three people. It is a story that will capture you and transport you into their lives. It’s quite an emotional read, almost poetic in it’s words. I was completely enthralled by the complexity of their relationship. There is pain, there is hardship, there is grief and love all wrapped up in this gorgeous book.

Tin Man is quite a unique read, which may not be to everyone’s taste (which by the way makes it a great Book Club Choice). There is no dramatic twist. There is no whodunnit. This is a a novel filled with passion and written with an elegant hand. A book to be savored. A book to be revisited again and again……

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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