Author Sarah Winman is an author everyone should sample. She has a gift for conveying so much using such an economy of words. Though only a bit over 200 pages, this is one of the most emotional and evocative books I’ve ever read. Major and minor characters are all so richly drawn, with their own beautifully distinctive voices. Awarded five stars on Goodreads.
The author uses a non-linear timeframe, so it’s important to note the year that heads each section of the novel. The story takes place in the 1980s and 1990s in England and France. Winman’s descriptions will make you feel you are there. Remember too that this is also the time period when HIV/AIDS was still new.
Ellis and Michael meet in Oxford, England as boys and quickly become brothers and soulmates. As they mature, increasingly each finds the other is able to fill the holes left by absent or abusive parents. They travel together abroad and discover the richness life offers while in each other’s company.
Years later, when Ellis meets and falls for Annie, the twosome expands into a threesome, each deeply loving the other two. But in that shift, the relationships must change and inevitably, separations occur.
Reading TIN MAN (2017) is a quick, deeply moving, and very sad experience. The story sensitively examines the essence of love, loss and loneliness and the profound impact individuals have on one another — sometimes known, sometimes unknown. It’s also about what we all leave unsaid everyday, even to those most important to us. I don’t know another author who more skillfully exposes our individual humanity and vulnerability.
You may be interested in my review of another novel by Winman: Still Life (2021)