Book review: ‘Tin Man’ — by Sarah Winman

(G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
This slim novel, presented in halves, tells a heartrendingly beautiful tale. In part one, we meet Ellis, a still-not-yet-old man, worn to numbness both by function — repetitive night shifts as an auto body repairman in the car plant that overshadows Oxford, and by choice — as a practiced way to avoid examining the tragic events of his past. When an injury forces him to take time off work for recuperation, he feels, since time has passed, ready to let in some of the thoughts and memories he usually pushes away. In another life, he might have been an artist. Part two is Michael, boyhood friend to Ellis, almost family, certainly loved. His journals, unpacked, reveal the other side of the story. Loss and love figure prominently in this warm novel, sparingly yet richly told. Details of life, brief moments, words exchanged between friends and family, small kindnesses, grand gestures, memories recovered and re-lived — these valuable bits that make up a life are recorded as a testimony to human lives, their fragility and temerity and strength. It’s a love story, but an unconventional one, one sure to broaden the reader’s view on what it means to love another person.
— Reviewed by Jenny Lyons of The Vermont Book Shop
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