Tin Man
The unforgettable and emotionally devastating new novel from Sarah Winman, author of the international bestseller WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT and the Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller A YEAR OF MARVELLOUS WAYS.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.

Tin Man Details

TitleTin Man
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 27th, 2017
PublisherTinder Press
ISBN0755390962
ISBN-139780755390960
Number of pages208 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Glbt, Literary Fiction

Tin Man Review

  • Simon
    April 9, 2017
    I didn't think a perfect book could exist, I was wrong. As Michael says within 'It was beautiful and, occasionally, it hurt.' Get ready for me to go on and on and on about Sarah Winman's incredible third novel Tin Man, it's stunning. One of the most beautiful portraits of love, friendship and understanding. Don't be surprised if it's my book of the year as it's probably going to be one of my favourite books ever.
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  • Linda Hill
    March 7, 2017
    Ellis lives a solitary life, but it is a life peppered with memories of the past.I’ve been staring at a blank screen and wondering what I can say about Sarah Winman’s Tin Man that will be adequate enough to convey what a beautiful read it is.Sarah Winman has a unique style. Direct speech is presented without punctuation so that the reader hears it naturally at the same time as the characters. The appeal to the senses is so strong that the writing is visual, auditory and both sensuous and sensual Ellis lives a solitary life, but it is a life peppered with memories of the past.I’ve been staring at a blank screen and wondering what I can say about Sarah Winman’s Tin Man that will be adequate enough to convey what a beautiful read it is.Sarah Winman has a unique style. Direct speech is presented without punctuation so that the reader hears it naturally at the same time as the characters. The appeal to the senses is so strong that the writing is visual, auditory and both sensuous and sensual in a kaleidoscope of pattern and refraction. There’s a poetry to the language that left me heartbroken at times. The beauty of the language belies the prosaic brutality of some of the events, like Ellis’s ‘boxing’ moment so that they are all the more impactful.The plot is quite simple and almost fragmented as the past slides in to colour the present, so that not a great deal of action takes place and yet there are whole lives laid bare and raw. I feel devastated that I’ve finished reading Tin Man. I don’t even want to pick up another book yet as I feel it will spoil this moment.Tin Man is about hurt and longing, desire and loneliness, love and regret. There’s anger and fear too. Sarah Winman has the ability to write a sentence that attaches itself to your heart and that keeps reverberating with a wistful intensity of what might have been long after the read is finished. I cared deeply about every character, even those mentioned almost in passing. I found it hauntingly sad.And Ellis, Dora, Annie, Mabel and Michael are not actually characters. They are real people. They are the embodiment of emotions that every one of us has experienced at some point in our lives so that to read Tin Man is not just to read about humanity, but it is also to experience it.I don’t think Tin Man will necessarily appeal to all readers, but for those it touches as it has touched me, it will be a book they will not easily forget. I thought it was wonderful. https://lindasbookbag.com/2017/03/06/...
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  • Jaclyn Crupi
    May 30, 2017
    An achingly beautiful book about three people who love each other. It's about first love and small kindnesses. It's about how destructive toxic masculinity can be. And it's about love is love is love is love is love. Winman does a masterful job managing the elusive structure and slips of time.
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  • Angela
    June 26, 2017
    This one made a deep emotional impact on me – it's the only book I can honestly say made me teary eyed – twice! On reading the first few pages, I thought it felt very much like Kate Atkinson's Behind The Scenes At The Museum, another book which made a big impact. It also had similar emotional overtones of A Man Called Ove.The prologue introduces Dora and Leonard Judd, parents of Ellis, while Dora is still pregnant with Ellis. It is only a short prologue but gives an insight of the early life Ell This one made a deep emotional impact on me – it's the only book I can honestly say made me teary eyed – twice! On reading the first few pages, I thought it felt very much like Kate Atkinson's Behind The Scenes At The Museum, another book which made a big impact. It also had similar emotional overtones of A Man Called Ove.The prologue introduces Dora and Leonard Judd, parents of Ellis, while Dora is still pregnant with Ellis. It is only a short prologue but gives an insight of the early life Ellis would have had and his mother's strength of character.The first half of the book is written in third person of Ellis – Tin Man – so called because he works in Tinny Bay, the area of the car factory which knocks out dents of car panels. It took me a short while to get used to the minimalist punctuation of the writing style – no speech marks so therefore had to concentrate on who was speaking. We go back and forth through Ellis's life, back to a young teen when he first met Michael after both boys became motherless. Their bond and closeness started immediately and never left either of them, even when Ellis met his darling Annie.In the second half of the book the writing switches to first person and we hear Michael's very sad and detailed account of his life with and without Ellis. Throughout the book, particularly for Michael although it is Ellis who is the artist, a print of one of Van Gogh's Sunflowers paintings which Dora won in a raffle in the prologue, features strongly.I really don't want to give too much of the story away because this isn't a book of plots and twists, it's the discovery of self and each other, so you really need to experience this for yourself. You may already have guessed or some might like to take this as a 'warning' that the story is mostly of gay love, not graphic, but so delicately and sensitively told.
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  • Maya Panika
    March 28, 2017
    A short book, just 195 pages, about two teenagers growing up together in working class Oxford, around the Cowley car plant, from the seventies until the nineties; a story of love and loss and grief - These are the bare bones of it; it’s hard to say more without spoiling. The story is told from two viewpoints, that of Ellis, a father-rejected, mother-fixated, deeply lonely boy, his closest friend Michael, who tells his side of the story in his diary - and later, there’s Annie too, and Dora of cou A short book, just 195 pages, about two teenagers growing up together in working class Oxford, around the Cowley car plant, from the seventies until the nineties; a story of love and loss and grief - These are the bare bones of it; it’s hard to say more without spoiling. The story is told from two viewpoints, that of Ellis, a father-rejected, mother-fixated, deeply lonely boy, his closest friend Michael, who tells his side of the story in his diary - and later, there’s Annie too, and Dora of course, but they are only seen in terms of their relationship to Ellis and Michael. Michael arrives in Ellis and his mother Dora’s life quite late, though they are still children. He slots into their lives so perfectly, finding peace with Ellis’s mother, with whom he has a close connection. I wondered then, if Ellis would become jealous of this interloper who seems to understand his beloved mother on an almost organic level, as she takes such delight in Michael - but that doesn’t happen, if anything it only deepens their mutual bond. A copy of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is a narrative string that pulls much of the story together; another is Michael’s diary, which throws everything into perspective, late in the story. Tin Man - the title constantly intrigued me. The only reference that made sense to me was The Wizard of Oz. The Tin Man was searching for a heart. Is this meant to suggest that Ellis - or Michael - are searching for their heart? It confused (continues to confuse) me since this is a book all about heart; it is all emotion, and little else. The whole thing is told very beautifully; it’s all in the reading, not the telling, of the tale - so much so, that I find (as I come to write this review 2 weeks after I finished reading) that I’ve forgotten almost everything I read and have had to go through cover to cover to remember. It’s a story of feelings and - maybe because of that - rather ephemeral. I enjoyed it enormously, but it has proved surprisingly short-lived in my mind. I’ve read three books since Tin Man and somewhere in that time, Tin Man has evaporated, like mist. It’s not necessarily a criticism, because it is so delicious a read, but it does lack substance and very little has stayed with me since I read it. It is intense, but evanescent
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  • Latkins
    April 27, 2017
    I've not read any other books by Sarah Winman, but I've heard a lot about her, so I thought I'd try this one. Set in Oxford, it's a short, sweet novel about love and friendship which also explores death, grief, sexuality and art. It's a book of two halves - the first considers the life of Ellis, in 1996 when he is 46 years old, as he continues to work at a local car factory and looks back over some of the events in his life. The structure is not linear, so we don't hear about events in the order I've not read any other books by Sarah Winman, but I've heard a lot about her, so I thought I'd try this one. Set in Oxford, it's a short, sweet novel about love and friendship which also explores death, grief, sexuality and art. It's a book of two halves - the first considers the life of Ellis, in 1996 when he is 46 years old, as he continues to work at a local car factory and looks back over some of the events in his life. The structure is not linear, so we don't hear about events in the order that they happened, but it's clear early on that his beloved wife Annie has died years earlier, and also that he was close to a childhood friend called Michael, who he no longer sees. Also, his mother Dora, who won a copy of a Van Gogh painting in an auction in 1950 whilst pregnant with Ellis, died early. The second half is narrated in the first person by Michael, from a journal written in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It explains a lot more about Ellis's life as well as his own, and deals very movingly with the AIDS epidemic. I won't say any more about the plot as that would spoil things.Personally, I found the second half much more compelling that the first half, which was written in a more passive style, perhaps to reflect the suppressed, introverted character of Ellis. I'm also not a fan of writing which leave out speech marks - it annoys me as you have to read everything twice to work out what's being said by who - and at times it bordered on the sentimental. But I was happily surprised by the second half, which is told in Michael's vivid voice, and really brings the story along. All in all, this is a poignant tale which I ultimately enjoyed.
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  • Penny (Literary Hoarders)
    February 23, 2017
    A new Sarah Winman? Yay!
  • Jackie Law
    June 1, 2017
    “And I wonder what the sound of a heart breaking might be. And I think it might be quiet, unperceptively so, and not dramatic at all. Like the sound of an exhausted swallow falling gently to earth.”Tin Man, by Sarah Winman, is a hauntingly, achingly beautiful story of friendship and love. It opens with a night out at a community hall in 1950 when young mother-to-be, Dora Judd, wins a painting of sunflowers in a raffle, her first ever act of defiance. The timeline then moves to 1996 when Ellis Ju “And I wonder what the sound of a heart breaking might be. And I think it might be quiet, unperceptively so, and not dramatic at all. Like the sound of an exhausted swallow falling gently to earth.”Tin Man, by Sarah Winman, is a hauntingly, achingly beautiful story of friendship and love. It opens with a night out at a community hall in 1950 when young mother-to-be, Dora Judd, wins a painting of sunflowers in a raffle, her first ever act of defiance. The timeline then moves to 1996 when Ellis Judd is living alone in a house that has stood still in time for several years. He works nights at a car plant in Oxford. He is struggling to survive.Ellis’s life, like most people’s, has had its ups and downs. He once had a best friend, Michael, and a wife, Annie. He dreamt of being an artist until his father got him an apprenticeship at the local factory, a potential job for life. Ellis is good at this job where he is accepted and respected. He understands that he has made choices and must somehow learn to live with their consequences.The story takes the reader back through Ellis’s memories: of his beautiful and loving mother; his distant, angry father; and to Michael, his charismatic friend. Michael came to live with Mabel, his grandmother, when he was twelve years old. Both boys were made welcome in Mabel and Dora’s homes, treated as if their own.Michael was the exuberant, risk taker in the friendship but it was Ellis who enabled him to shine. When Annie arrives on the scene she is determined not to come between these two young men. The weight of life’s continuing experiences increasingly stunts all of their abilities to fly.Following on from the short prologue, the book is written in two parts telling the story of Ellis and then of Michael with intersections offering depth to each other’s tales. The language throughout is artistry in prose. The imagery feels so rich it is almost decadent. The grief is raw and heart-rending to read.The author has woven a love story that is intensely moving yet avoids all the cliches and banality typical of the genre. It does nothing for effect even though deeply affecting. Despite presenting each life lived with a stark actuality, this is a tale oozing colour and possibility.I have read many excellent books this year but have no hesitation in saying if you buy only one then let it be this. A glorious, heartfelt read.“I look at these young men, not in envy but in wonder. It is for them now, the beauty of discovery, that endless moonscape of life unfolding.”My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Tinder Press.
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  • Janet Emson
    June 30, 2017
    Tin Man opens with Dora winning a painting in a raffle. That painting ignites something in her. Moving forward in time the narrative moves to Ellis, Dora’s son. The reader is led on a journey of loss and love and discovers how some people complement each other, much like the colours in the painting.It’s been a while since I read a book in a day but Tin Man broke that run. It was a book I picked up whenever I had the opportunity, one I was soon absorbed in, reluctantly putting down when the real Tin Man opens with Dora winning a painting in a raffle. That painting ignites something in her. Moving forward in time the narrative moves to Ellis, Dora’s son. The reader is led on a journey of loss and love and discovers how some people complement each other, much like the colours in the painting.It’s been a while since I read a book in a day but Tin Man broke that run. It was a book I picked up whenever I had the opportunity, one I was soon absorbed in, reluctantly putting down when the real world called.Not that the world beneath the yellow cover didn’t feel real. It did, at times all too real. The story does not contain too much action but that wasn’t necessary. Tin Man is a story about people, how what they do, and don’t do, can have long term ramifications.Tin Man is a love story. It is a story of lasting love and fleeting love, love lost and found, of familial love, romantic love, unrequited love and secret love. It a story about clinging on to the happiness in our lives, learning from the sadness and how both can shape us.It is a sad story but the sadness is interspersed with moments of joy, of real happiness. As Ellis remembers the loves of his past he works towards loving himself, something he stopped doing years ago. As he revisits old ghosts he becomes more aware of the present. He realises that people do see him, that he is not fated to wander alone through life until the end. By coming to terms with the loss of those he loved he finds his life beginning again.Every character adds something to the story. There are those that love openly, without expectation. There are those who’s love is more hidden, Len, Ellis’ father appears to be heartless, yet his way of showing love is no less valid. Dora, Annie and Michael all show Ellis different ways to love and live.This is only a short novel at only 208 pages but that doesn’t mean the reader is left feeling short of a complete story. It is just the right length. It is a book I realised I enjoyed a lot more once I had finished reading it.An ode to love in all its forms. Beautifully written, you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by it.
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  • Leilah Skelton
    May 8, 2017
    There’s something about first love, isn’t there? she said. It’s untouchable to those who played no part in it. But it’s the measure of all that follows.Be still my hammered, malleable heart. What a mighty little book this is! Sarah Winman’s third novel is an absolute work of art. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers burst through the threads of this story, and as a reading experience, Tin Man feels paralleled with art’s intentions. It alters perceptions, disarms, challenges perspectives, and just simply moves There’s something about first love, isn’t there? she said. It’s untouchable to those who played no part in it. But it’s the measure of all that follows.Be still my hammered, malleable heart. What a mighty little book this is! Sarah Winman’s third novel is an absolute work of art. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers burst through the threads of this story, and as a reading experience, Tin Man feels paralleled with art’s intentions. It alters perceptions, disarms, challenges perspectives, and just simply moves you… It’s hard to describe, but I found that time in its company enriched my soul.Though the supporting characters are all well-drawn and complex individuals, this is essentially the story of Ellis and Michael, from boyhood in the 70s to adulthood in the late 90s. The first half of the book told from one perspective, and the second half from the other. I’ve been ushered through grief, love, expectation, and hope. I’ve had all of my senses roused in just under 200 pages. There’s not a wasted phrase within it, and Tin Man’s sonorous language is still ringing through my bones. It has rusted and ruined me. It has broken and mended me. With the tears it drew out of me, it has soldered itself to my poor, book-loving heart.I’m in the business of selling books, of course, but few give me such an immediate and desperate desire to share them with readers like this one does. Like the Tin Man of Oz, it seeks out a heart, and I’ll defy you not to find yourself squeezing your own into these pages, too. Easily a favourite book of the year!
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  • Zarina
    May 10, 2017
    A beautiful little tome about friendship, love and mortality. There is something lovely about such a short read that allows you to merely dip in and out of someone else's life for such a brief moment, and yet I do wish this novel had delved more into the aftermath of its current ending as there were some questions left unanswered. Other than that it was wonderful; beautifully written, thought provoking and raw, it is a story that celebrates first love and childhood friendships, among the hardshi A beautiful little tome about friendship, love and mortality. There is something lovely about such a short read that allows you to merely dip in and out of someone else's life for such a brief moment, and yet I do wish this novel had delved more into the aftermath of its current ending as there were some questions left unanswered. Other than that it was wonderful; beautifully written, thought provoking and raw, it is a story that celebrates first love and childhood friendships, among the hardships of growing up and adulthood.
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  • Alana Eising
    June 18, 2017
    I found this book slow to start, but after that I was pulled in. Love, beauty, and 'a celebration of the transcendent power of the colour yellow.' What a lovely, heartbreaking slice of two lives--Ellis and Michael, proof of 'the simple belief that men and boys were capable of beautiful things.'
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  • Trish
    June 10, 2017
    I'd read somewhere to bring the tissues for this one and, ignoring that advice, I spent most of my time reading this one with blurred vision. I found it so deeply affecting for such a short novel. A novel I could easily revisit. Beautiful. Heartbreaking.
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  • Ruth Brookes
    May 31, 2017
    Simply beautiful!
  • Sarah
    May 29, 2017
    A beautiful little novel.
  • Rosie Evans
    May 30, 2017
    A beautiful portrait of love, loss, friendship and compassion.Reaching out across decades, from a working-class upbringing in Oxford, to separate lives in London, France and America, Tin Man allows us a glimpse into the hidden emotional worlds of outwardly stoical souls. Ellis’ mother’s cherished copy of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is a narrative thread woven throughout the novel; breathing compassion, optimism and defiant happiness into Sarah Winman’s sensitively crafted characters. Wistful and haunt A beautiful portrait of love, loss, friendship and compassion.Reaching out across decades, from a working-class upbringing in Oxford, to separate lives in London, France and America, Tin Man allows us a glimpse into the hidden emotional worlds of outwardly stoical souls. Ellis’ mother’s cherished copy of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers is a narrative thread woven throughout the novel; breathing compassion, optimism and defiant happiness into Sarah Winman’s sensitively crafted characters. Wistful and haunting, but also subversively funny at times; this tender, human tale reminds us we are all capable of beautiful things.
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