Published by Tinder Press
Publication date – 27 July 2017
Source – review copy
“It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things.
And then there are two boys, Ellis and Michael,
who are inseparable.
And the boys become men,
and then Annie walks into their lives,
and it changes nothing and everything.
Tin Man sees Sarah Winman follow the acclaimed success of When God Was A Rabbit and A Year Of Marvellous Ways with a love letter to human kindness and friendship, loss and living.”
Tin Man opens with Dora winning a painting in a raffle. That painting ignites something in her. Moving forward in time the narrative moves to Ellis, Dora’s son. The reader is led on a journey of loss and love and discovers how some people complement each other, much like the colours in the painting.
It’s been a while since I read a book in a day but Tin Man broke that run. It was a book I picked up whenever I had the opportunity, one I was soon absorbed in, reluctantly putting down when the real world called.
Not that the world beneath the yellow cover didn’t feel real. It did, at times all too real. The story does not contain too much action but that wasn’t necessary. Tin Man is a story about people, how what they do, and don’t do, can have long term ramifications.
Tin Man is a love story. It is a story of lasting love and fleeting love, love lost and found, of familial love, romantic love, unrequited love and secret love. It a story about clinging on to the happiness in our lives, learning from the sadness and how both can shape us.
It is a sad story but the sadness is interspersed with moments of joy, of real happiness. As Ellis remembers the loves of his past he works towards loving himself, something he stopped doing years ago. As he revisits old ghosts he becomes more aware of the present. He realises that people do see him, that he is not fated to wander alone through life until the end. By coming to terms with the loss of those he loved he finds his life beginning again.
Every character adds something to the story. There are those that love openly, without expectation. There are those who’s love is more hidden, Len, Ellis’ father appears to be heartless, yet his way of showing love is no less valid. Dora, Annie and Michael all show Ellis different ways to love and live.
This is only a short novel at only 208 pages but that doesn’t mean the reader is left feeling short of a complete story. It is just the right length. It is a book I realised I enjoyed a lot more once I had finished reading it.
An ode to love in all its forms. Beautifully written, you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by it.
About the author:
Sarah Winman grew up in Essex and now lives in London. She attended the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art and went on to act in theatre, film and television. She has written three novels, WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT, A YEAR OF MARVELLOUS WAYS and TIN MAN.
This is book five in the #20BooksofSummer challenge.