Tin Man by Sarah Winman
It starts with a painting, selected as a prize at a small town raffle, mainly to the disarray of the men shouting for the whisky. A seemingly innocuous event, but in actuality this decision to pick the sentiment of beauty over the sediment of rye changes everything. This painting, a print of Van Gogh’s sunflowers, becomes the framing for a set of lives, entwined and separated, somehow the closest of friends and yet, strangers.
Like her bestseller A Year of Marvellous Ways, this new novel blends past and present through the intertwined lives of Ellis and Michael, whose love for Ellis’s mother and her painting inspires an attention to beauty that they carry with them.
Echoing the artfulness of a James Baldwin classic with the colourful melancholy of Haruki Murakami, Tin Man does not shy away from the difficulty faced when dealing with sexual identity, and identity itself.
Tin Man closes with the phrase ‘It was a moment in time, that’s all, shared with strangers.’ In the age of Trump and the DUP, this book is a somehow altogether breathless and loud testament to love, beauty, loss and art, and is perhaps exactly what we need.
A true curer, this book is a painting with words that'll leave you hungover in all the right ways. [Rosie Barron]