Title: Tin Man
Author: Sarah Winman
Publisher: Tinder Press
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 an overbearing father. 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 is a poignant, beautifully written novel about memory, friendship, and loss. It’s acutely sad at times and very powerful – one of those books which sticks with me long after I finish it, and packs a real punch in its 200 pages.
The plot tells the story of Michael, Ellis and Annie – particularly the relationship between two best friends, Ellis and Michael. The narrative is split into two parts – one focused on the present day, as we hear Ellis recount his friendship with Michael, and then we switch to Michael’s perspective. Both stories are obviously hugely interlinked but in Michael’s story we learn much more about his relationship with his partner, and all the way through we know that an incident is looming on the horizon, which casts a bit of a melancholy feeling over the book. It’s certainly not a cheerful novel but I didn’t feel it was depressing for depressing’s sake; rather it manages to tell a sad story in a beautiful way and leaves you thinking about the characters’ lives. But make sure you’re in the mood for this kind of book – it’s definitely not a light hearted read!