Tin Man by Sarah Winman is a simple story about two friends.
Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first meet. Their family circumstances, although very different, become a bonding point and their friendship grows over many years. However, from the beginning of the book, we know that there is a gap in Ellis and Michael’s shared history and the reasons for that break are slowly unravelled.
Winman moves the story back and forth over time, revealing the events that shaped the boys’ friendship. There are a number of twists in this relatively short novel and if I listed them, the story could be perceived as overly dramatic. In fact, it is quite the opposite – it is plausible, gently paced and Winman delivers the blows with a velvet hammer (brace yourself, there are bits to make you cry).
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.
Perhaps it’s just me but naming the main character ‘Anna’ in a story about an anorexic seems tone-deaf…
Yara Zgheib’s novel, The Girls at 17 Swann Street, focuses on a small treatment facility for women with eating disorders and in particular, Anna, an ex-ballerina.
Anorexia is the same story told every time by a different girl. Continue reading
The Stella Prize 2019 longlist will be announced tonight.
The longlist is made up of twelve books, usually a mix of fiction and non-fiction, memoirs and short stories (all must have been published in 2018). Continue reading
I’m not usually one for the forced tone and repetitive structure of epistolary novels, however, I was hooked on Ceridwen Dovey’s In the Garden of the Fugitives from the very beginning.
Almost twenty years after forbidding contact, Vita receives a letter from Royce, who was once her benefactor. Vita, a film and ethnography student in her youth, was one of his brightest protégées. Continue reading
I am painfully behind in my reviews – the longer they go unwritten, the less likely it is to happen. These reviews hardly do justice to some of the books I’ve read (sorry Magda) but at the very least provide me with a record. Continue reading
When I was fourteen, my best friend’s older sister said, “You know you like a boy if you think about him when you’re getting dressed.” Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler is the grown-up book version of those words (finding your way with unfamiliar rules). Continue reading
I did away with ‘top tens’ a few years ago, and instead I finish the reading year with a recap of the books that are still speaking to me (less about four and five-star ratings, more about what has stuck). Continue reading
It’s getting to that stage where every spare moment is spent on ‘end-of-year’ stuff, leaving precious little time for writing reviews. I’m taking a short-cut. Continue reading
Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye. This week, my picks were taken from readers’ suggestions for more art-lit. Continue reading