Somehow I got distracted when I started reading Tin Man towards the end of last year (too much Christmassy nonsense I should think). Picked it up again this evening and read it in one sitting. It broadly revolves around Ellis, a man who works repairing dents in car panels, and his relationships with the people around him. That might sound uninspiring at first glance, and perhaps it would be in the hands of someone who wasn’t a literary goddess like Sarah Winman, but this novel literally sparkles with life from start to finish: it is gorgeous, delightful, powerful prose! And this despite the fact that its punctuation (none for dialogue, chock full of comma splices etc.) is unconventional. How on earth does Sarah Winman do it? I wish I had half her writing confidence.
The story line of Tin Man is relatively simple, but the characters leap from the page and you cannot help but fall in love with them all (and feel their pain) – Dora (Ellis’s mother); Annie (his wife); Mabel (a good friend who takes him in when he needs rescuing from his father, who by the way, you also end up understanding and liking because he has softens with age); Carol (his father’s girlfriend); and most of all Michael (his best friend). I won’t say more here, but for me this novel was about being true to yourself and having heart.
If you haven’t already read it, this is another novel to put on your must-read list for 2019. Made me smile and made me cry. Gave me writing envy! A soupçon of reading heaven.