Book Review: Tin Man - Sarah Winman


Title: Tin Man
Author: Sarah Winman
Publisher: Tinder Press (9 August 2017)
Genre: Classic Fiction
Price: Rs. 267 on Amazon
Pages: 208

You know those books that you solely buy for their covers, well, this was one of them. The book had a gorgeous yellow cover and came highly recommended from my friends. I sat down to read it one fine day and finished it in a couple of sessions.

Tin Man begins in 1950 in rural Oxfordshire, when, Dora Judd, a pregnant housewife, disobeys her husband by choosing a painting over a bottle of whisky at a charity raffle. “It was her first ever act of defiance. Like cutting off an ear. And she’d made it in public.” These are the lines used to describe the act. The story then revolves around Dora's son, Ellis and his best friend, Michael, both 12 year olds. Growing up together in the 60's and coming from toxic families, the boys have stayed together through thick and thin. Decades later, Ellis meets Annie and marries her. The two of them (Ellis and Micheal) then become the three of them with Annie being clearly aware of the deep relationship the boys share. Nothing changes and yet, everything seems to have changed. Suddenly, Micheal goes missing and Ellis is left with a void in his life.

The first part of the book is the story of Ellis. The painting won by his mother, Dora, is a reproduction of Van Gogh's Sunflowers, and she teaches her son to respect art, freedom, beauty and destiny. "Men and boys, should be capable of beautiful things. Never forget that", she tells him. Fast forward to the late 80's, where Ellis is now a widower and is leading a life of loneliness. He no longer is taking an interest in art and has a mundane job at a car factory. One fine day, when he's totally tired of his life, he whispers "I'm stuck" to his late wife, Annie. "Go find him", she replies. The second part of the book is the story of Michael. This part narrates the heart-breaking reasons of why Micheal left Ellis and Annie. Anything that I say after this would probably give away the actual story.

Tin Man is a story about alternative lives that might have been lived had circumstances been different. The writing does take some time to get used to. There are no definitive dialogues in the story and at times it is really difficult to understand who is saying what. But, with time you get the flow. The writing is understated, yet powerful, going bold and heavy on the emotions and the context of love. This is a story of love, loss and loneliness; an almost love story you can call it. "Love is crucial to freedom", Michael says and you are blown away by the depth of it. Tin Man is a love letter to friendships, love and humanity. The good, bad and ugly of it. It is not a great book, that is exactly what makes it so good. It is a simple tale of relationships and its side-effects, and that is exactly what it shows. For the living and the lonely.

"How do you think the sound of a heart-breaking would be? It is the sound of an exhausted swallow falling gently to earth." - These lines will remain with me for a really long time.


Verdict: A story like no other. A love like no other. Read it, you must.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

I read this book as part of the #TBRChallenge2020 for prompt 12 - A book with the cover in your favorite color.

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Linking up with Shalini for the #TBRChallenge2020.

Add your February 2020 book reviews to the linky below. You can add multiple posts to the linky. They can be a blog post or Instagram posts. They should however have a brief review of the book chosen for the prompt.


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The winner for the January edition of #TBRChallenge2020 is Obsessive Mom aka Tulika Singh. Congratulations! Do get in touch with Shalini or me for more details.

12 comments:

  1. Omg this sounds amazing! Adding it to my TBR!

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  2. Thank You for sharing this review and bringing this book to my attention.

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  3. I am so glad you liked this one too. And your verdict is same to same too. It's almost a love story and written so poignantly that I felt it's the authors real life story. One has to experi nice this heart ache to write about it so.

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  4. I've wanted to read this for some time. And after your post on Instagram about this, I want to read it soon. The only reason I'm putting off is because there are bunch of books that I've bought of late and I haven't read them. So trying to finish them off before buying new ones. But that is getting difficult.

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    1. Oh I totally understand. While I'm focusing on my existing TBR, I'm buying new books on the side too.

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  5. Aww..this sounds like such a wonderful story! I would love to read it. Will look for it here.
    Thank you for the review, Soumya!
    How I wish you had gone on and on about the story--now I will have to wait to read it and see what happens!

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    1. Do read it, Shilpa. It sure is worth it.

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  6. Okay I don't think I am going to forget that last analogy, and I haven't even read the book - definitely picking this one up!

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    1. That line broke me too. Do read this one, you will love it.

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