Sarah Winman

All posts tagged Sarah Winman

Tin Man – Sarah Winman

Published August 28, 2018 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

This is almost a love story.

Ellis and Michael are twelve when they first become friends, and for a long time it is just the two of them, cycling the streets of Oxford, teaching themselves how to swim, discovering poetry, and dodging the fists of overbearing fathers. And then one day this closest of friendships grows into something more.

But then we fast forward a decade or so, to find that Ellis is married to Annie, and Michael is nowhere in sight. Which leads to the question, what happened in the years between?

This is almost a love story. But it’s not as simple as that.

What did I think?:

I’ve had this book on my TBR shelves since a little while after it was released and I picked myself up a gorgeous signed copy coincidentally in the same place the majority of the book is set, Oxford on a wonderful bookshop crawl. I was however, VERY nervous to start reading it for a number of reasons. The first is that whilst I enjoyed Sarah Winman’s debut novel, When God Was A Rabbit (which I read in my pre-blogging days), I unfortunately didn’t get on so well with her second, A Year Of Marvellous Ways. When I initially heard that this was coming out, I wasn’t even sure I was going to read it but then the buzz started with a lot of reviewers whose opinion I trust praising it to the hills. Well, then I just knew that I had to be part of the phenomenon and discover what everyone was talking about. Can I see what all the fuss was about? The short answer to that is yes I can – Winman is a fabulous wordsmith with the English language and I was immediately enraptured by the characters of both Ellis and Michael. Whilst it wasn’t necessarily a five star read for me personally, for the lyrical beauty of the narrative alone I simply have to recommend it to others.

Sarah Winman, author of Tin Man.

The synopsis of this novel is suitably vague, other reviews I have read have been mostly quite mysterious and now having read this novel, I can see why and will continue to do the same in my own review. It is a love story (of sorts) but it’s also about friendship, loss, grief, despair, not being able to be the person that you want to be and how chasms in your life can be bridged if you have the right person there with you, holding your hand and offering support during tough times. Initially, we focus on Ellis and Michael who have both struggled with issues at home and develop a fast, meaningful friendship which helps both boys deal with their personal demons in similar (and very different) ways. However, when we first meet Ellis, he is on his own, suffering in stoic silence once more and Michael is nowhere to be seen. During the second part of the narrative, we find out where Michael is, more about him as a character and what happened during the years of their friendship that led both men to the point they now find themselves.

The city of Oxford, England where Tin Man is set.

Tin Man is a book that can easily be read in one sitting being a mere 208 pages long in paperback format. I read it in two sittings as I was in the middle of a few different books at the time but I still managed to finish it within a day as I found the writing style to be absolutely delicious, delving deep into my mind and senses like melted butter and it was easy to become immersed in the story. There were some truly beautiful moments that stand out and some incredibly poignant, heart-breaking ones too but I have to admit, the style might not be for everyone. Winman plays around with words, phrases and the emotions of our characters so gorgeously that the effect of it all wasn’t really evident for me until I had reached the final page and it was only then I realised the impact of what I had just read.

However, it is written in a sort of stream of consciousness way and often the reader is left to connect the dots themselves regarding certain things the author is alluding to that are left pretty much unsaid but gently suggested. Personally, I enjoy a novel where parts are more vague, left up in the air and the reader is left to draw their own conclusions about aspects of the story but I do understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea so just throwing that out there! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this novel but I completely understand what the author was trying to do and applaud her for it. The writing as I’ve mentioned (probably too much now!) was magical, there was tenderness, devastation and nothing was ever really resolved by the end which made it all the more gut-wrenching as a result.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Tin Man by Sarah Winman was the forty-third book in my quest to conquer Mount Everest in the Mount TBR Challenge 2018!

Book Tag – Shelfie By Shelfie #4

Published January 22, 2018 by bibliobeth

Image edited from: <a href=”http://www.freepik.com/free-photos-vectors/frame”>Frame image created by Jannoon028 – Freepik.com</a>

Hi everyone and welcome to a brand new tag – Shelfie by Shelfie that I was inspired to create late one night when I couldn’t sleep. If you want to join in, you share a picture (or “shelfie”) of one of your shelves i.e. favourites, TBR, however you like to organise them, and then answer ten questions that are based around that particular shelf. I have quite a large collection and am going to do every single bookshelf which comprises both my huge TBR and the books I’ve read and kept but please, don’t feel obliged to do every shelf yourself if you fancy doing this tag. I’d love to see anything and just a snapshot of your collection would be terrific and I’m sure, really interesting for other people to see!

For my very first Shelfie by Shelfie please see my post HERE.

For my second Shelfie by Shelfie please see my post HERE.

For my third Shelfie by Shelfie please see my post HERE.

For other Shelfie by Shelfies round the blogosphere, please see:

Chrissi @ Chrissi Reads FAVOURITES shelfie HERE.

Sarah @ The Aroma Of Books Shelfie 1A HERE

Anyway – on with the tag, here is the third shelf of my first bookshelf (I’ve chosen to split it up into two separate shelfies because of the sheer number of books (oops!). I did the back shelf in Shelfie by Shelfie #3 so here is the front shelf):

NOTE: We’re looking at the second shelf down here, shelf with the Andrex puppy on has already been covered in Shelfie by Shelfie #2! 😛

And here are the questions!:

1.) Is there any reason for this shelf being organised the way it is or is it purely random?

This is one of my very random shelves, no rhyme or reason for the way they are ordered at all! This shelf has a mixture of new releases, books I was recommended on a visit to Mr B’s Emporium Of Reading Delights and books I want to get to fairly soon.

2.) Tell us a story about one of the books on this shelf that is special to you i.e. how you got it/ a memory associated with it etc.

I’m going to tell you about A Pug Like Percy by Fiona Harrison. I was given it as a Christmas present not last Christmas but the Christmas before because I have a slight obsession with pugs. (I can hear my sister snorting “SLIGHT?!” right now) and I keep meaning to get round to reading it. It looks like such a heart warming story about a little abandoned pug and I’m thinking Christmas 2018 would be a perfect time to finally read it.

3.) Which book from this shelf would you ditch if you were forced to and why?

I’m beginning to really resent my own question. All of these books are ones I really want to get to and all of them are TBR, I haven’t read a single book on this shelf yet. The shame. If I absolutely had to, I’d choose Mateship With Birds by Carrie Tiffany. I got it for only £2.00 from a used bookshop on the London Bookshop Crawl recently and actually think I already have a copy on my Kindle. Oops.

4.) Which book from this shelf would you save in an emergency and why?

Probably How To Be Human by Paula Cocozza. I just adore the front cover and was trying not to buy hardbacks (lack of room) but couldn’t resist this one as it’s just gorgeous. I would worry that I wouldn’t be able to get hold of the same cover easily if I lost it.

5.) Which book has been on this shelf for the longest time?

Probably The Valley Of Amazement by Amy Tan. I’m not sure when I bought it, it was quite a few years ago (released 2013?) but I know it’s definitely older than the rest of the books on this particular shelf.

6.) Which book is the newest addition to this shelf?

Newest is probably 4321 by Paul Auster which was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize in 2017 and I became intrigued by after I heard the synopsis of one man, four parallel stories of his life. I haven’t read any books from this author before so I’m excited to get started, although I’ve heard a few bad things too. We’ll have to wait and see!

7.) Which book from this shelf are you most excited to read (or re-read if this is a favourites shelf?)

This would definitely be My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent. I’ve heard so many great things about it, I’m actually reading it very soon and I am so excited to get started. Oh yes.

8.) If there is an object on this shelf apart from books, tell us the story behind it.

There isn’t any object on this shelf, there’s no room for anything else apart from books (and even then, not enough room for some of them, eek!).

9.) What does this shelf tell us about you as a reader?

Again, I think it shows that I have quite a varied taste in books and that I like to keep up with new releases. There’s also a couple of older releases on the shelf too that I’d really like to get to and highlight in my blog this year including Carol by Patricia Highsmith (first published 1952).

10.) Choose other bloggers to tag or choose a free question you make up yourself.

Anyone who wants to do this, please feel free, I’d be delighted but please tag me in your post so I can see your shelfie in all its glory. This time round I’m going to choose a question for myself:

Is there any books on this shelf that you think might have an emotional impact on you?

I’ve been hearing amazing things about Tin Man by Sarah Winman. I enjoyed her first release, When God Was A Rabbit but didn’t get on very well with A Year Of Marvellous Ways. However, I have heard that this novel is hugely emotional and might break me a little bit so I’m determined to get to it sometime this year.

COMING SOON on bibliobeth : Shelfie by Shelfie #5

A Year Of Marvellous Ways – Sarah Winman

Published April 24, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Cornwall, 1947. Marvellous Ways is a ninety-year-old woman who’s lived alone in a remote creek for nearly all her life. Recently she’s taken to spending her days sitting on the steps of her caravan with a pair of binoculars. She’s waiting for something – she’s not sure what, but she’ll know it when she sees it. Freddy Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the war. He’s agreed to fulfil a dying friend’s last wish and hand-deliver a letter to the boy’s father in Cornwall. But Freddy’s journey doesn’t go to plan, and sees him literally wash up in Marvellous’ creek, broken in body and spirit. When Marvellous comes to his aid, an unlikely friendship grows between the two. Can Freddy give Marvellous what she needs to say goodbye to the world, and can she give him what he needs to go on?

What did I think?:

A Year Of Marvellous Ways is on the Richard and Judy Spring Book Club list this year and I think I had quite high expectations for it after enjoying Sarah’s previous novel, When God Was A Rabbit. Unfortunately, I’m quite sad to say that I was bitterly disappointed, it had oodles of potential and a really promising plot line but for some reason I just didn’t get it. Magical realism is a genre that I lap up and usually crave more of but dare I say this novel was too whimsical and in parts, very confusing even for me!

Its the 1940’s, post World War II and the “Marvellous Ways” of the story is an eccentric and fascinating old woman who at ninety years ago still lives on her own in a caravan by a creek in Cornwall, swims naked on a daily basis, believes she is the daughter of a mermaid and is famed locally for her healing abilities and potions. When we first meet Marvellous she appears to be on edge, staring out at the sea, certain that there is someone important that will visit her, one last person that she has to help before she dies.

The person who does turn up on her doorstep is Freddy Drake, a soldier fresh from his traumatic World War II experiences and completely broken and scarred from what he has seen during the war and from losing his first real love. Marvellous manages to heal both his body and mind by sharing some stories of the three great loves in her own life and helping Freddy piece together the mystery of who he is as a person. As these two mysterious and intriguing characters cement an unlikely yet important friendship it appears that there are wounds to be healed on both sides of the relationship.

There are so many positives about this book and that’s why I’m certain a lot of people would really enjoy it. Sarah Winman’s writing is beautiful and so poetic and for that reason I would usually give the novel a higher rating than I have, but I feel I have to be honest with myself about my enjoyment of the story. The characters were intriguing and I did fall in love a little bit with Marvellous Ways and Freddy Drake but everything just seemed so disjointed and a lot of the time I felt I couldn’t follow the thread of the plot properly. By the end I just became frustrated and kind of like – “What just happened?” I’m a huge lover of literary fiction normally, books that jump around in time and as I mentioned before, books with a bit of a magical edge but this novel just didn’t sit right with me. I don’t want to put anyone off as I know there are fans of the genre out there who will “get” it and I’d love to know your thoughts!

Would I recommend it?

Probably not.

Star rating (out of 5):

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